What should we do with our ANGER?
ANGER occurs when we feel pushed to the edge of our boundaries. When we feel like our core values are being threatened or violated. It's kind of like a last-ditch effort for us to stand up for ourselves. We use anger to create distance between us and a perceived threat. It is a form of self-preservation.
Society often tells us that it's not okay to be angry. And as highly sensitive people (HSPs), we are often already characterized as being "overly" sensitive. Because of this, many HSPs tend to shy away from confrontation. But this merely causes us to feel small, direct our frustrations inward, and suffer in silence (and then often later explode). We can stay stuck in feelings of depression or apathy.
But confrontation is necessary in any healthy relationship. If we don't learn to have difficult conversations with people, they can never get to know the real us. There's a lack of true intimacy. We end up feeling disconnected from others because we don't feel like we can ever be our authentic selves. This is one of the main reasons HSPs withdraw and self-isolate.
In reality, anger can inspire us to step out of our perceived helplessness. To assist us in seeing that we actually have choices in how we wish to respond to a particular situation. And with that ability to choose, we become empowered.
Of course, HOW we channel our anger is also very important. If we're constantly reacting or blaming others when things are not how we think they should be, we entrench ourselves into a victim mindset and feelings of powerlessness.
SO WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT OUR ANGER?
- Acknowledge your anger. All emotions are natural and valid. It is important for us to be able to feel all of our emotions, even those that we find difficult or uncomfortable. That is what allows them to move through us, rather than get stuck within us. We don't want to get attached to the idea that some emotions are good, and that others are bad. Because when we judge our emotions in that way, we are also unintentionally judging ourselves to be a good person or a bad person.
- Get curious about your anger. Anger is a secondary emotion that covers up deeper and less comfortable emotions. This will take the courage to become vulnerable with ourselves. If anger occurs when we feel our core values are being threatened or violated, it is helpful to ask ourselves 3 questions to reveal what's going on beneath the surface:
-"What about what happened hurt me so much?"
-"What about what happened am I actually afraid of?"
-"What need of mine is not getting met in this situation?"
- Don't distract yourself from your anger. It is natural to want to avoid our anger or the deeper emotions beneath our anger. We may distract ourselves through things like exercise or staying busy. But this is very detrimental because it doesn't give us the space we need to actually work through the root cause of our anger. And thus healing is not possible. We are fated to repeat the same patterns (and lessons) over and over again - until we are ready and willing to take a look.
Listening to what your anger is trying to tell you is what will allow real healing to take place. It is here to show you what in your life is out of alignment and needs some love and attention.
Identifying and communicating an unmet need is often the easiest way to get it met. As HSPs, we often think that other people can or should be able to read our minds. At the very least, it invites us to look for other ways in getting that need met.