I was so mad that I threw money in the garbage can. Real money. In the trash. Because I was mad. Anger blinds us. It makes us irrational.
But the reality is sometimes after you get past hurt, all you’re left with is anger, and it’s really hard to get over being mad.
Someone once told me that you only hold on to anger if it serves you.
What does that even mean?
It means you won’t stay mad, and hold on to being mad, if it doesn’t benefit you in some way.
Hey, when I heard that, it felt like a slap in the face.
Is Your Anger Benefitting You?
What do you mean anger is benefitting me and that’s why I’m holding on to it??
I didn’t know how to let go of it so how could I be holding on to it?
I felt so justified in feeling angry. I had the RIGHT to feel angry. I was wronged! I had every right to be mad, and the whole world needed to know about it.
I couldn’t see any way my anger was benefitting me.
It was a crazy idea.
Is this a crazy idea to you? Do you see any way your anger is benefitting you?
Sounds crazy, right, that when you’re angry there’s something in it for you?
And if you don’t deal with being mad, you can end up being an angry and depressed person…worse still you can end up being angry for a long time and wind up becoming bitter.
And don’t nobody like being around someone bitter because bitterness just oozes from you. It’s like it has its own smell. People sense it before you even come into the room.
So what do you do with that anger and how do you avoid letting it turn into bitterness?
Ain’t Nothing Wrong with Feeling Angry
Ain’t nothing wrong with feeling angry, but it’s all about what you do with that anger.
Part of the issue is understanding your personality because it will reveal a lot about what you’ll do with the anger.
My personality is tenacious, which is good at work or when I’m working on a project. I don’t let things go. I see things through until the end. I obsess over things until I accomplish them.
Good on a project, bad when it comes to relationships, and it’s taken me years to realise this.
I obsess over the relationship after it’s over and replay conversations. I hold on to everything way too long, especially anger.
I don’t always get it right (believe me), but when I think back over my life, these are a few things that help me when I’m boiling over with anger.
Understand yourself and what your tendency is with emotions.
Do you bury them deep down inside and then smile on the outside? Are you internalising your feelings and not dealing with the real emotions you’re feeling?
Do the work to let go of your ex.
Could the anger be benefiting you because it’s allowing you to hang on to the relationship?
Realise that anger is a protective emotion
that’s often keeping you from dealing with deeper feelings? Have you dug deep to deal with those feelings?
Read and watch how other people have dealt with their anger.
I know there have been millions of people over the years who have been wronged in ways unimaginable so I would read their stories and find quotes from them and write them down and repeat them to myself over and over again.
Realise forgiveness and anger are a process.
Sometimes as a Christian I get upset at myself for not forgiving faster. Verses like:
Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbor a grudge. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.
were great at telling me what to do, but the big missing key for me was how to do it.
It was freeing to know that forgiveness and anger were a process and I wasn’t a bad person if I wasn’t able to do it with the snap of a finger, especially because I visit and re-visit things as a part of my personality.
I know. It sounds too simple, but sleep would do it for me. Some days, I couldn’t deal with reality and sleep was a simple, inexpensive escape with few consequences. Everything seems to be in better perspective after I caught some Zzz’s.
Eat or Workout.
I put these two together because…well, yeah, you know. Both of these things put the world into perspective.
I know these simple pieces of advice don’t solve all your problems on feeling angry, but it’s a start, just like the process you’ll be on to work through your anger.
Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself and then work on forgiving others. And give yourself the space and the grace to let the anger dissipate over time.
(PS – Do you wanna know about the UPSIDE of anger? I talk about it in this post: The Upside of Anger.)