I want to talk to you about anger and how to deal with this totally normal emotion in a positive way, instead of allowing it to turn into rage where you have now taken up permanent residence in hate.
I’ve experienced, on several occasions, the need to say, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was angry.” It never feels good.
My buttons were pushed to the limit with an experience a few weeks ago and I took my own advice and practiced seeing it from a different perspective. It has been a great opportunity for me to practice what I preach.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
First, I am not apologizing for the way I felt. I felt it, that is okay. But, I didn’t have to act (or react) on the anger, which I chose not to.
Let me explain…
In my business, someone was acting really unkind, angry, and being very hateful. They were not getting their way, and thought bullying would make me give them what they wanted. Because of this, my anger emotions were climbing up the scale. Totally normal human emotion when we feel attacked. Our mind says, “defences up, you are in danger! Bully alert! Bully alert!”
Being the contagiously positive girl doesn’t mean I allow anyone to be unkind to me, or to anyone in my company. I didn’t want to condone the behaviour by giving in to it just because I wanted to avoid conflict. What we resist persists, so avoidance does nothing but make you a pressure cooker, ready to blow at any second. I also didn’t want two things to happen. First, I didn’t want their behaviour to ruin my good mood. But it was also important that I let the anger in because it was useful to stand up for my myself and what I value. NO BULLYING! Two, I didn’t want to respond from anger, with more anger, because I’ve learned that that really keeps me stuck in the problem and the negative emotion of it. I would rather feel it, learn from it, heal it, move on from it as quickly as possible. Negative-Ville sucks! And, I didn’t want to match their behaviour.
I was talking with a couple of girlfriends about the struggle I felt with not responding with anger. I said, “I was angry, but I didn’t want to respond with anger, but one part of me was saying, let em have it, and the other part was saying, no, don’t fight a bully with bullying.” I also described that I felt like two people, which makes sense, because if you have heard me talk about our two inner voices, you know that each of us has a shadow self, a saboteur. It was really difficult not to listen to my saboteur voice who wanted to fight fire with fire. It is very difficult for me to explain this in writing but I felt torn. It actually physically pained me to not yell at them. How can I be angry, a totally normal emotion, but also stand up for myself and what I value, from a kind place?
Big takeaway: The right thing is most definitely not always the easy thing.
In my angry state, I began writing out a pretty detailed email as to why I was right and justified in being mad and how bullying is not the way to get what you want. Then, I caught myself and deleted it. Why? Because the email wasn’t about fixing the situation. The email, as it was originally written was me fighting to be right. It felt unkind, which went against what I was actually trying to explain – against my values. So, I sat back and thought about how I could respond in a way that minimized my anger and both of us could be heard in a more positive way.
The Coles notes of what the email ended up being was that I politely said; “I don’t accept bullying and unfortunately our working relationship was going to have to come to an end. I expect respect even if we disagree and I was okay if we couldn’t agree on this situation and that we don’t need to get defensive if we don’t. I wish you the best.” It instantly put the fire out in me, but not in this person. They had their fighting gloves on and were already in the ring. But I felt better, which is what I really wanted anyway. Why did I feel better even though they were still angry about not getting their way? Because I was in solution mode, being kind even though everything in me was fighting against it, I was being what I valued most, and I wasn’t in the emotions are up and anger is fuelled and I’m going to fight til the death to prove that I’m right and let me show you my hot blooded Italian rage mode.
It is examples like these that helps me recalibrate back to joy, which is the outcome I want. I want happiness to be my permanent default setting, and that requires me to not ignore negative emotions, but to feel them and work through them without my defensives being on high alert. I won’t lose my contagiously positive girl status just because I was angry. But it will diminish it if I ignore the emotions. Meaning, if I ignore it, they just get stuffed down and that becomes physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting, which makes me a pressure cooker ready to blow. Sound familiar?
If this resonates with you, think about how you can react the next time your anger emotion rises up? How can you express your anger so it doesn’t become rage? Don’t repress it, express it. What is a better way to react or respond that helps you work through the anger (or any other emotion) instead of taking up permanent residence in the anger?
“You cannot control your external circumstances, but you can control your response.”
I also want to talk about a different perspective that helped me shift back to a more calm and loving state. I tried to see it from a different perspective. Why is this person reacting to not getting their way with bullying, anger and hate? I instantly heard, “bullies bully because they are in pain.”
When someone uses negative, hurtful words to try and take you down, it’s not because there is anything wrong with you. It’s usually because they are deeply hurting and have so much pain that you triggered. Often the trigger comes up for them when you are in a good place and are firm on what you value. People who have deeply rooted pain really struggle being around happy people who don’t want to fight back. Don’t give in to the bully or match their frequency by putting on the fighting gloves and joining them in the ring. You don’t do them or yourself any service. You both leave with a black eye. Stay true to who you are. That is what I did. I could have fought. I wanted to fight, but I knew deep down that hate does not cure hate. Don’t not engage with this person because they will not give up until you are brought to your knees. Remember they are probably in pain, which will help you not get sucked into self-doubt, and keep them at a distance where your energy and your heart is protected.
The most difficult, but freeing part of this process is to release any negative cord that binds you energetically by saying, “I don’t accept or condone their behaviour, but I pray for the release of any pain they feel.” Sounds woo-woo and less rewarding than letting them have it, but it feels so much more freeing and is much kinder.
Protect your happiness. You can stand up for what you value and defend yourself without hate and rage. Let the anger show you what matters to you. Let the anger show you what you value most, including yourself, and then use that fuel to stand up for yourself in a way that you feel good about. When we fight hate with hate, nobody wins.
If you want to take this conversation further because you are going through something like this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how you can move forward in a way that you feel good about.
p.s. In case you were wondering what the outcome was, a few days after I received a deeply sincere apology email from this person. Kindness for the win!
p.p.s. If this is something that resonates with you, this is a topic we dive into in my 9-Week digital course, Unleash Your Inner Contagiously Positive. It was the Day 11 email that reminded me that I have total control of my reactions and why I was able to go through this situation in a more positive way. I was still feeling the hurt of it, but I didn’t let it take me down. I used it to stand firm in my desire of making happiness my permanent default setting.