People who know me primarily through my Facebook page will probably be surprised to find out that I struggle with anger management. Perhaps it’s time to come clean about that.
Many years ago, I decided to start a gratitude journal on my personal Facebook page. I thought that doing it in a public way would ensure that I would look for something to be grateful for every single day. And, over time, my family and friends and even a few strangers have started to look for my daily posts as a pleasant way to close out their own stressful days.
I’ve come to feel a responsibility to find at least three things to be thankful for at the end of my day. People are counting on me. And that’s a good thing. It holds me accountable to my own goals, and reminds me that life really is pretty amazing. Every day.
But that does not mean that it’s easy for me to always look on the bright side or to be grateful for the little things in life. Because inside, I’m an angry person.
There. I said it. Probably nobody died.
Because I write about some fairly unpleasant parts of my life, I often feel unsettled, guilty, and angry. And anger is an emotion that we are not supposed to display in public.
No matter how justified, women, in particular, are trained from childhood to swallow the anger, hide the fury, and suck up the hurt. We are taught to hide the truth of our emotional landscape to protect the feelings of others – even those who are, by accident or by design, responsible for our anger.
“Anger has been a really big deal for women: how can we express it without feeling that, as the physically weaker sex, we won’t get killed. The alpha-woman was burned at the stake and had her head chopped off in days of old.”
~ Alanis Morissette
As I wrote in my last post (https://lindabittle.com/inspirational-stories-are-hard-to-tell/), to write well one must tell the truth. The truth that I’ve tried to avoid telling is that I still seethe with rage over situations that can only continue to hurt me because I won’t let them go.
I have a black belt in holding grudges…I still remember the name of the boy who pulled the chair out from under me in Junior High English class. I’ll bet Kenny F. doesn’t even remember me, but the embarrassment I felt at falling on my butt and being laughed at by the entire class still burns as white-hot anger in my heart. And in the scheme of things, that was a pretty minor insult. I’ve survived worse.
Things I’m Mad About
I could write a long list. But I won’t.
See, it’s not healthy or good to hold on to those things. I’d probably be able to get off the blood pressure pills if I could manage this anger management thing. And yes, I’m angry that I have to medicate myself to tolerate the rocks and arrows of daily life.
More importantly, as a Christian I’m called to control my emotions. God does not approve of my temper tantrums. Here are a few things He has to say about it: https://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/10-bible-verses-anger/
Of course, it’s also not healthy to deny that we sometimes feel ugly emotions like anger, jealousy, or even hate. We’re to deal with them and not let them fester in our hearts. And writing about them is one way to deal with those ugly things that happen to all of us.
The trick, I think, is to write with both honesty about the hurts that come with being human, and with gratitude for the resilience to move forward despite them.
Yes, life is hard a lot of the time. And it’s also beautiful if we let it be.
Here are some helpful resources about anger.