Love Letter to My Anger

Kristine Petterson
Jun 24 · 3 min read

Stop running from strong negative emotions and embrace what it means to be whole.

Dearest Anger,

I’m so sorry I was an a-hole to you for so long. I ignored you, disguised you, refused to let you get a word in edgewise and left you standing in the rain for an inexcusable amount of time.

You were only trying to tell me that pain, danger, insecurity was near.

For years I sensed the churning in my stomach, I noticed your lightning flash, the quickening of my heart in the dead of night that kept me from sleeping. Yet my desire to accomplish, to please, to achieve, to keep up appearances stood in the way of your gentle message. I had no use for you because I didn’t want to seem weak, unkind, or needy.

Until I had kids. Then your voice became so loud, at times it was the only one I could hear. Fear about my body ripping open during birth melted into you. Loss for the carefree and flexible life I lived before billowed up in you. The trickle of tears I cried from exhaustion and overwhelm became a river that raged in your name. Anger.

Nothing could stand in your way. When my child learned to shout “No!” and throw herself on the floor at Trader Joes it was you that hit my like a tidal wave with no warning.

I’m just now understanding how powerful and vital you are in living an honest, connected life. In a culture that tells us to “turn that frown upside down” and “don’t worry, be happy!”, you have a terrible reputation. But you’ve got my attention, I’m listening now as you teach me valuable truths in ways that are not easy. If I want to embrace the wholeness of my being, I’ve got to open my heart to you.

You’re there when something is painful or unfair. Blurring my eyesight when my boundaries are overridden.

Let’s be honest, you taught me that I needed to create those boundaries in the first place.

To say “no” instead of losing sleep to meet an additional deadline or join one more committee.

To identify ways that I want to be treated and talked to.

To integrate the full range of emotions this human experience elicits, not just the light and likable ones.

To shed old skin; let go of toxic relationships that left you pounding my heart and biting my tongue.

You encouraged me to let go of a limiting, exhausting job and find my way to a career that allowed me to grow fully into all my gifts.

Your clearest offering was teaching me to embrace the fullness of you; the biggest, scariest, overflowing, body wrenching emotion there is. And for that I love you.

When I feel you rising from my depths and allow you to really be seen and heard, it’s a catalyst for change and healing. To scream you into the dark of night, to punch the pillows and slam the doors is cathartic transformation. A fire from which the phoenix may rise so much quicker than if I tried to strangle and stifle you in silent hidden pain. By your light, a plan for reconciliation, healing and problem solving can be seen.

Anger, my passionate friend, I am paying attention. Come as you are; slowly smoldering or like a wildfire burst to flame. I lay out the welcome mat before the door to my heart and invite you in.

Kristine Petterson

Written by

Kristine left public education to become a yoga instructor, birth doula, mother, certified sleep consultant and a writer, in that order.

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