Anger feels bad. It makes us feel hot, anxious, on-edge, volatile and uncomfortable. We understand a social message that says anger is bad, we should avoid feeling angry, and that when we do we are failing. Enter guilt. Enter me. I get angry frequently. Indeed, a lot of the time I spend with my young kids brings up angry feelings when their behaviour begins to decline, when things don't go my way, when something else entirely is on my mind but I take it out on them irrationally, the list goes on. The very day-to-day (or, more accurately, minute-by-minute) experience of motherhood requires so much of us during waking hours that it can feel overwhelming, even at times when things are going pretty swimmingly.
|This girl is angry because it is too cold to swim. By Robin|
|Goober is only angry when girls pull his eyelashes|
Honestly, I used to get angry a lot. It causes me shame. I think back to some of the times I remember yelling at my girls, slamming doors, breaking plates and stomping around the house and I feel like curling up into a tiny ball, disappearing from that shame. Guilt and shame. Anger bad. But is anger bad? In my experience, anger is always popping up, here to stay, part of the human experience. I don't think I even want to live a life without anger. A Valium haze, rose-coloured glasses euphoria sounds dreamy but denies real life growth.
Sometimes anger is a feeling that needs to exist and then pass. Sometimes it attracts my attention to something that needs fixing right away. Sometimes anger calls me to make a positive change. Sometimes it tells me to smash a plate, but nowadays I ignore that directive and sigh. It teaches me, and I am open to learning. Lifelong learning. I may never understand, but I can learn why anger is here this time, and deduce what I can do about it now. I can release myself of the shame and guilt for recklessly obeying anger's call to destruct and find in it an opportunity to create. I can connect to something inside myself that needs attention. Sometimes that's just my tense jawline needing to be unhinged.