How to handle anger and conflict
No matter who we are or how we live our lives, at some point something will happen to cause us to feel angry.
We are often taught that anger is bad, that it is a negative emotion that is destructive. In fact anger is a very natural response to feeling attacked, frustrated, deceived or insulted. It is a warning system to us that demonstrates that something is not right. Anger itself is not a negative, but it needs to be handled in a positive way.
Anger is full of energy - our heartbeat quickens, we shake, feel the need to do something, anything.
Imagine what we could do if we take that energy and channel it into something positive?
I grew up thinking that anger was something that needed to hidden - I was supposed to oppress my anger, cover it up. But trying to hold anger in often leads to resentment and can cause numerous problems down the line.
Recently something happened that left me feeling more hurt and angry than I have for a very long time, and it has been interesting to notice my response. Instead of trying to suppress my anger and frustration, I have let myself feel it. I sat and wrote pages and pages in my journal, letting the anger flow onto the page. I cried. I cleaned the house. I swore. I did what I needed to do, to be able to feel and then let go.
I accepted that what I was feeling was very real and valid.
I used the energy anger was giving me to bust through some blocks and get some productive things done. I used it as an opportunity to learn more about myself.
Some tips for handling conflict and anger in a positive way:
It might be unpleasant and uncomfortable but accepting that what you are feeling is valid, takes away the power from anger and empowers you to choose how to respond.
Take responsibility for your part...
For me, some of what was said was very true. Behaviours that I needed to examine, work on and change (and for the most part I was already addressing). Take conflict as an opportunity to learn about ourselves and do the inner work we need to do.
...But not for the part of others (DO show empathy).
Whilst you may need to examine your part, you are not responsible for taking on the reaction of the other person. In my situation, the realisation that the other person was making judgements without knowing the full story, actually allowed me to let go of worrying about what others think. It also allowed me to feel empathy with the other person, and to consider the difficulties they are facing in their own life. It may be too soon for you to forgive fully but choosing to look at the situation with love helps you to let go and move on.
Which brings me onto...
Let it go.
This is such a big thing. Holding onto anger breeds resentment. Do what you need to let it out. Cry. Scribble in your journal. Write down all the thoughts you have, no matter how crazy they seem. Sit and say Fuck, Fuck, Fuck over and over (very therapeutic). Clean. Go for a run. Paint. Drive to a quiet spot in the countryside and scream. Turn up the music and dance. Channel the energy. Release. Let go. Move on.