Angry again? Better By Monday

“Someone who is very angry also has a lot of energy; that energy is what’s so juicy about him or her.” -Pema Chodron

I am hearing from many of my clients lately about how frustrated they are feeling during this election season. The anger is overwhelming, at times, and seems to be causing an increase in negative thinking, including, how being angry is upsetting in itself.

Anger isn’t bad. I believe that anger is an important signal – that it means something has gone wrong, causing a feeling of disrespect to disempowerment.  I haven’t met anyone who likes to feel angry. However, I have talked to many “angry” people, over the years, and sometimes the anger feels better than the despair waiting just underneath the surface.

Pema Chodron offers a perspective on anger which is refreshing and reasonable. She helps us see that we are making a mistake (when we let a feeling take over) which keeps us stuck in, “our own particular style of ignorance, unkindness, and shut-downness…”

The mistakes which keep us stuck involve misunderstanding our anger. One way is to assess it as bad or ugly and to shame ourselves for feeling angry. Another way is using the energy it brings to overpower others. An additional way we stay stuck in anger is to ignore what caused it and try to escape the feeling, denying why it exists.

There is a way to honor the presence of your anger, respect why it has surfaced, and let it be a sign – not something to which you resign. “The idea isn’t to try to get rid of the anger, but to make friends with it, to see it clearly with precision and honesty, and also to see it with gentleness,” Pema gives us a way to process something we avoid.

It’s important that we don’t repress our anger. When it shows up we can respect it by being precise in looking at what caused it to arrive, be honest about our role in how it arrived, and be gentle with yourself as you experience one of your strongest emotions.

One Thing to Do: Learn how to assess anger with gentle-accuracy.

  1. Stop judging yourself as wrong or bad.
  2. Stop glorifying it as “right” or more right than someone else.
  3. Stop rationalizing that other people “deserve it” because they are stupid.
  4. Start seeing your anger as a protector of your story.
  5. Start identifying which part of your story is changing.
  6. Start listing the pros and cons of taking charge of the change.
  7. Start letting go of the anger and moving with the action you can take.
  8. Enjoy the wisdom of keeping anger useful rather than toxic.
Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

 

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Your Reach can be Better By Monday

“Reality knows nothing of your plans, and it comes up with ever new ways to pester you. According to recent research, you are bound to meet twenty-three frustrations today (up from thirteen a decade ago).” – Piero Ferrucci in The Power of Kindness.

How you meet with the frustrations which show up today will make a difference in how frustrated they will leave you. Flexibility is something everyone thinks they understand but psychological flexibility isn’t as well known.

The idea of being physically flexible can be seen in a gymnast who is able to twist and turn effortlessly in floor routines, on balance beams and even between uneven bars. It takes years of practice to become a skilled gymnast. The amazing flexibility of the prepared gymnast can seem super-human to those of us who sit behind a desk and therefore, seem out of our reach. Psychological flexibility also takes practice but becoming adept at it doesn’t require a gym.

We may be inflexible because our parents didn’t know how to teach the skills of flexibility. Rigid rules and punishments may have trained a lack of flexibility in our thinking and/or feelings. We may have been given a routine to follow which has allowed some limited success but it didn’t include an internal compass for self-awareness.

The ability to think about more than one option and really consider how to navigate the different potential outcomes of various probable options is being psychologically flexible. That is a mouthful to say but it is a simple process to move yourself from one self-centered thought to considering how we are all connected; self, partner, family, friends, community, country, to continent.

One Thing to Do: Mental stretching is the purposeful reaching with your thoughts past where they usually end. It is like expanding the idea that something only affects you into the possibility of how that same something could change life for others. Reaching from outcomes about “just me” to an impact on “we” is one mental stretch worth practicing.

Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.