Click the tune I was listening to while writing this: Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants
I went through a season where I felt really angry. It came as a surprise and I didn’t really know what to do with it. Anger had a bad stigma in my eyes. I’m the optimistic chic, you know?
There’s only very few, and I’m talking very few times, I’ve had a moment of anger. And I’d quickly clear it up and retreat to my cave of what I thought was humility. In fact, I felt guilty for being angry. But this time was different. I let myself get angry. I mean, I went the full throttle. I bought a rock cd and sang at the top of my lungs. Deep imprints were left in my journal after writing. I got mad. As I’m writing this now, I’m laughing because it’s still so soft and delicate. But anyways – I got angry the best way I knew how. What was so confusing was not knowing why I felt this way.
Have the courage to dig a little deeper
I decided to trust my gut and go with it.
I let myself feel what was erupting in my spirit. I gave myself space – to be. I wasn’t denying it to suit anyone or society. I had to let go of that perfectionistic voice and inner critic, the one that would usually yell at me “Angry? What do you have to be angry about? You shouldn’t complain! You’re being ungreatful!” But to continue listening to that voice meant quietening anxiety only temporarily. Instead, I let my peace be disturbed momentarily. Being a seeker of peace and tranquillity, getting mad doesn’t seem like the “spiritual” thing to do, you know? But it was time to push fear aside and question this ancient belief I was holding onto.
At first, I was angry with myself, then society and then people who had acted unfairly. I was angry at how others get treated. I was angry at the bullshit that happens in our society. I was angry at the sadness I felt for things out of my control. I didn’t do anything irrational, I didn’t take it out on anyone, I didn’t commit any offences. Just so we are clear on that. It felt like I pulled the positivity and denial plug on my heart and it was like a volcanic explosion of utter beauty. Yep, that’s right, beauty (volcanos are epic!).
I needed it. I was tired of being brave, being optimistic, of trying to be strong all the time. In that moment I was free of the expectations I had imposed on myself. And with a “fuck it” attitude, this belief was exposed.
The belief that I need to suck it up and be positive all the dam time.
And that was my problem right there. The expectations I imposed on myself and had adopted from society too. They hindered me from being my true self – all to save face. I feel it was a concuction of always putting other people first and being there for everyone else except myself. There’s also my history of growing up in a particular church where I learnt to be prim and proper even though I was screaming inside. As a child, I smiled while I suffered in silence.
Questioning religion, media and society
As a follower of Christ and building my life on the foundation of love – I thought I wasn’t allowed to feel anger. But if I can’t feel what I feel, how is this being honest? Is this really what Christianity and spirituality is about? Suppression? Which can turn into oppression by the way. Isn’t it counter-intuitive to being of moral character? And how can people love and see the real Anjelica when I’m denying parts of myself that I think are ugly? Why had I believed for so long that anger was evil when it’s a part of the emotion rainbow? Why did I think something was wrong with me if I felt anything less than joy or positivity?
Didn’t jesus get angry? Woh.
Positivity on the daily? Nah.
The thing is, even if you didn’t grow up in church or have those beliefs imprinted on you from a young age, we are faced with images and messages daily about positivity and happiness. We are bombarded with this picture perfect lifestyle. We can’t exactly blame media or any other avenue for this, it’s only heightened the problem that was there long before I was born. This pretend facade and dismissal of what we feel that diseases our community. To throw the blame around only sets us back. Allowing myself to be angry was a deliberate choice but not a state I wanted too stay in for too long. Because when blame begins to erode the soul then flows in the bitterness. I wanted to be angry long enough to identify the issues and short enough to know that going forward, it’s up to me to change my perception.
Happiness and health isn’t exactly positivity. I want to burst that bubble. I’m tired of seeing advertising that says happiness is just a 12 week program away. You can be healthy and happy even when you’re not pumping out positivity on the daily. Health is not exactly a destination either. It’s a state of mind and one that can change. I believe part of being healthy (mentally, physically and spiritually) is about being engaged and aware of what we truly feel. And if that is anger, joy, sadness, excitement, and recently grief then that is what we need to embrace. We don’t need to react to all our emotions and that’s why I mentioned that I didn’t take my anger out on people or commit a murder. You know what I mean jelly bean? We also don’t need to believe all of our emotions. Some days I feel like a nutter and a simple walk or prayer helps. It’s taken time to be able to sift through what’s eating away at me and what’s just a bad day. That will come with practise.
Be more human
You are not a burden for sharing what you feel. Unfortunately, not everyone will be there for you. Some may dismiss you. Even in my worst state, very few wanted to listen. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to others, start by being honest with your yourself.
We need to remember that part of human life is experiencing painful seasons. We can still be hopeful, faithful and optimistic and at the same time be honest with what we feel. Even if it’s anger. This is not about picking up a pessimistic attitude and becoming the Grinch. Just sayin..
Going through life thinking it has to be rosy and positive vibes all the time isn’t authentic nor realistic. In some ways, it can set us up for failure and shallow relationships. If we experience pain and discomfort, we may feel something is wrong with us because the world is saying “hey, there’s no room for your less than positive vibes”. But that’s bullshit and I refuse to believe that anymore. By experiencing our emotions, and not being afraid of them, we are empowered. In fact, it shows utter strength to be able to dig deep and truly face what’s going on.
By avoiding anger, it grew. By feeling it, it was released.
I think it’s important we change the message our society presents about positivity and happiness. A healthy life is not one without anger. To be healthy, I believe it’s about embracing the highs and lows – knowing very well that they shape our lives.
My season of anger resulted in feeling more carefree, open and honest. Isn’t that interesting? I feel more like myself and lighter in my spirit. When I finally stopped pretending I was ok and admitted I was feeling anger, it opened the path to recovery and learning the lessons life was presenting me. It aided in forgiveness and developed compassion towards myself and others.
Tips for those painful seasons
- Talk it out – with a friend, family member, psychologist, someone who will listen
- Call a hotline or counselling service
- Journalise and write it out – Read this post
- Be patient with yourself
- Don’t expect everyone to be understanding but don’t let that stop you from being you
- Listen to others
- Understand how difficult it is to be open so be patient with others who find it difficult
- Walk in nature to refuel a heavy spirit and release emotions
- Be creative – paint, take photos, move furniture around (oh how I love this), make something
- Workout in a fun way (dancing like a crazy woman works wonders)
- Listen to music that empowers you (Trance, house music, Armin ohh yeh)
- Listen to music that gets your anger out (Five finger death punch, Linkin Park)
- Go on group hikes – hellooooo!
- Do something new and out of your comfort zone
- Look around at your life and remind yourself, it’s just a season
- Play with animals
- Hug it out
Now go by yourself a rock cd and let it out!
What are your thoughts about the message of positivity in our society? Do you think it’s healthy and why/why not? Comment below for myself and readers to mull over.