What I Learn From Anger

What makes you angry? I mean really angry? For some people it’s injustice. For others it’s bad manners. Still others become angry when they come across inefficiency. What makes you angry? I get angry a lot – about inefficiencies, about people being rude, about injustices – and dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Add overwhelm to the mix and my anger increases tenfold. I’m not proud of my anger, especially when it’s directed at an innocent bystander (my husband and children come to mind), but I do acknowledge that my anger serves a purpose. My anger has a will. My anger is true, real, and golden. My anger creates change, growth, new direction.

Growing up, my anger was a reactive, impetuous emotion. My Dad used to always counsel, “Colleen, count to ten before you get angry.” Which always pissed me off. I didn’t want to slow down my volatile outburst and count like a baby. As an adult, I see that Dad was on to something.

Since I married Mark, my opposite in how he deals with anger, I’ve come to understand that taking ten seconds isn’t such a bad idea. I’ve learned that in ten seconds I can give my brain some space. I can ask myself: What’s going on here? Why the anger? What’s really pissing you off right now? And you know what? Eight out of ten times, just asking the question brings tears to my eyes. By opening space to dive beneath the anger, I realize there is a well of sadness underneath. I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve this. I’m not loved. And other variations on the theme. At first I was shocked. How can I, a strong, independent woman, be thinking such derogatory thoughts? Aren’t I bigger than this? But, deeper down, these statements resonated with the deep tone of a cathedral bell. I knew these statements were true. I didn’t feel good enough. I didn’t feel loved. I didn’t feel deserving.

And that, my friend, is what is at the crux of my anger. Inadequacy. I’m not so much angry that I feel inadequate, I’m angry that my inadequacies feel like Truth. I am angry I have to fight these inadequacies every day of my life. I have been living with the truth of my inadequacies for so long, I don’t even question the validity of their origins. I don’t even know where they came from. My parents? Not overtly. School? Perhaps, in an off-handed way. Teasing and bullying by classmates? Most assuredly, but not to an extent to make them so ingrained. Is it possible, I wonder, I came into this world feeling inadequate? Is it possible that my life’s purpose is to not only feel adequate, but to own how fucking awesome I am?

I know. A lot to take in, isn’t it?

Imagine walking through every day of your life feeling fucking awesome.

I mean, if I believe what I say I believe—we are spiritual beings having a human experience and that my true nature lies inherently in my soul—then why the hell wouldn’t I be fucking awesome? The words Soul and Inadequate are like oil and water. Inadequacy recoils into a fine powder that can be puffed into oblivion at the mere sound of the word Soul. They cannot co-exist. Not if I’m walkin’ my talk.


So, I ask you.

What makes you angry? Take the thread of your answer and follow it into Alice’s rabbit hole. What sadness lies beneath? What did you bring into this life with you? What is the oil drop in the waters of your Soul?