Monday, February 09, 2009
I've introduced the topic that "anger is not bad" and I've talked about "anger is a feeling (not a behavior) that can be a motivator." Today I have something more specific in mind.
Anger is information.
Have you ever found yourself getting angry at questions from someone? Or at their uninvited commentary on you and your life? Maybe you feel irritation rather than full blown anger. Have you ever then berated yourself for your feelings because, after all, they are "just trying to help."
If you are female, you have probably been taught that "It isn't nice to be angry." Even if you didn't get it as a direct lesson from your parents, you may have picked it up simply by being a member of this culture. "Nice girls don't get angry." "People won't like you if you... ." Taking away our right to be angry also disempowers us and encourages us to allow others to take advantage of us.
Perhaps that anger or irritation deserves another look. Sometimes anger or irritation is an indication that the "well-meaning" individual just crossed your boundaries--or is about to. That feeling can be an alarm of sorts to get you to pay attention.
You have a choice in behaviors at this awareness, but maybe all that is required is that you shore up your boundaries and be prepared to protect yourself and your limits. Just because someone asks a question, you are not required to answer it. Just because someone offers advice, you are not required to take it. Just because someone comments on your person or your life doesn't mean they are right.
And just because you are angry doesn't mean you need to rip them a new orifice...even though in the moment, it may feel like a very satisfying option.
Once, in my ignorance, I asked a question that was none of my business of a friend. Her response was silence, followed by a change of subject. I got the message. I learned that my curiosity was invasive. I never made that mistake again--although I know I have made plenty of others.
So next time you find yourself being angry, check in. See what it is about. Once you know, a world of options open in your choosing a response. Chances are you will feel more empowered by having those options.
(If you have questions or aspects of this topic--or others--that you want to discuss, please send me an email at whatwouldwandado AT comcast DOT net, or leave it here in a comment.)