6 Key Messages That Your Anger Might be Trying to Have You Pay Attention To

We all boil at different degrees.

I’m pissed off!

And now I’m not.

I get angry often – having said that I rarely ACT angry. I can’t recall the last time I even raised my voice.

When my kids were little it was a sign that I should just keep motoring on – so I kept busy, only noticing that I felt angry after a night of no sleep and I couldn’t do anything so I kept moving.

Lately I have been becoming more mindful of my anger. I don’t know why my triggered emotion is anger and not sadness or anything else, mostly it’s an angry feeling that rises up and then subsides. Guess it just is.

Do you find yourself getting angry? Are you aware of what triggers it?

When I get angry I notice it in my body, my chest gets tights and feel like my blood pressure increases, sometimes by heart beats faster.

While anger is often deployed at others it has been my body’s message to focus inward, like a bratty feeling two year old needing some attention while it has a melt down on my ‘emotional kitchen floor’.

Some of the inquiry that helps me receive my much needed messages are:

1. Is there a value violation here?

Our values are who we intrinsically are. When someone else does something that is outside of our values we can feel angry. Zero in on what value is being violated?

An example – I have a real value around respect, when someone treats me in a way that feels like I wasn’t respectful, add in a lack of kindness (another value – I see red)

My ‘job’ is not to discharge my flurry of feelings on them, my ‘job’ is to recognize that I am triggered, ask if I need to do or ask for anything and only if I’ve processed this moment and can act within my own values do I act.

Sometimes I just walk away (think of someone cutting you off in parking lot and then them giving you the finger – I don’t need to stop the person to have a conversation about that)

Want to discover more about your values? Click here for a great tool

2. Am I blaming someone else for something and feel ‘judgy’ and like flinging my crap onto someone else? (Youch)

Blame is how we discharge our own pain. Perhaps we didn’t ask for something we needed or hold someone accountable for something that we did ask for.

It’s a tough one, but worth circling back and seeing if there’s something that needs to be addressed, a want/need that wasn’t expressed or a boundary that requires some reinforcement.

Great video here with some wisdom by Brene Brown, that explains blame and what we can do about it

3. Is there a misunderstanding? What if you misinterpreted someone else’s intention about something?

This is where you get curious over critical

That could look like “I thought we had made some plans for the weekend, but I haven’t heard from you and was wondering what happened?”

AHHHHHHH – this feels, spacious, generous and non judgemental and opens the door for a conversation that will shed some light on a situation and allow for designing how you might do things differently next time.

4. Are you mad at yourself?

If something hasn’t gone well, it’s a great opportunity for learning and adjusting your sails.

Talk to yourself like you would a friend that’s struggling and be kind to yourself in this process.

Beating yourself up takes your gooey, thinking, creative part of your brain off line and makes you more reactive and myopic in focus.

If your brain is anything like mine I need the best parts of my brain to be running on all cylinders or the whole system could go to crap – some days I can barely identify my own offspring in a line up, I don’t need my brain function to deteriorate even further.

This skill is called self compassion and it can be learned AND the more self compassionate one is the better their self confidence is as well – see how self compassionate you are here.

5. You’re pissed off. PERIOD.

Perhaps this is where some self care comes in. Answer these questions, with out editing:

  • What do I want more of?
  • What do I need?
  • What do I want less of?

Take those answers and get on it.

Hire someone to clean your house, do your taxes, go take a bath, go for a walk, take yourself out for coffee, go to the zoo – listen to what you long for more of and schedule that in.

When we feel stretched thin, wrung out and packed full, that’s the perfect fertilizer for resentment to grow in.

6. Is the anger hiding another emotion?

Anger is considered a secondary emotion. Anger is usually covering up another emotion. What emotion is underneath the anger?

This may require some softening and mindfulness towards the feeling of being angry. Go for a short walk, talk it out with a friend or journal and try to observe the anger, like it is outside of yourself and see if there’s sadness, frustration, disappointment underneath it.

Even simply recognizing and naming the emotion goes along way to diffuse it.

Feeling angry, is in the end a gift, a wee high octane messenger that’s trying to get us to listen more deeply to what we want and need.

The next time you feel angry, look inside for its message, it may turn out to be more of a friend than a foe ☺.

Leona deVinne