When was the last time you felt angry? Maybe it was this morning on your morning commute or last night during an argument with your partner. Maybe anger is something that you experience very rarely, but when you do it’s a blowout. Anger is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It can also be a behavior. We might show our anger through yelling, the choice of words we use, body language or even violence.
While anger is something we all experience it can also be a cover-up for deeper emotions such as frustration, hurt, and embarrassment. We often refer to anger as a secondary emotion, there are deeper more meaningful emotions that are prompting our anger. Imagine for a second a giant iceberg. We only see what is above the surface, but the iceberg starts deep down within the ocean. Anger is very much the same. Anger is often what we identify when we are upset and is often what we express to others (the iceberg). Underneath the surface pushing the iceberg out of the water are huge pieces of ice. If we were to melt them the whole iceberg would melt. If we target the deeper emotions that are underneath our anger, we melt the anger.
Sometimes it can be a little tricky to initially identify the deeper emotions, especially if anger is our go to feeling. I would encourage you to dig a little deeper. Are you really angry that your kids didn’t follow up with chores or are you frustrated and maybe feeling unappreciated? Are you really angry with your spouse for spending lots of time with their friends or are you hurt? Once you pick out what is really going on for you, you open the door to make changes. It is a lot easier to resolve a conflict through honesty and conversation rather than confrontation and anger. Next time you feel your temper rising, give yourself and timeout (take a walk, get away from the situation if possible) and see if you can figure out what you are really experiencing. This is called mindfulness, which will be the focus for next weeks blog.