I read a great post here last week by Jason Berek-Lewis. It talks about being able to recognize (and name) the things that are holding us back from our true greatness.
Here is a link to his post:
To conquer your Everest, you have to name it.
Time to call out the One Thing that’s holding you back from being your true you.
(By the way, check out other posts at the new publication On The Rise. It has some of my favorite writers.)
Jason’s post spoke to me because, like him, I’ve worked at conquering anger.
Anger was my Everest.
After reading, Jason and I shared some great insights into what anger means for us, and that got me thinking more about what had been behind my anger.
I’m going to focus here on two key points.
Maybe they’re the same for you, or maybe not, but hopefully you can gain some insight from them.
🌟I realized one day that I was mistaking anger for power.
When that became clear, the whole game changed for me.
I was a scrawny kid and the youngest of the family.
I grew up in a loud Italian family with authoritarian tendencies.
As a result, I never felt heard.
And the people who seemed in charge were often loud and having angry outbursts.
So I made the connection (faulty as it was) that if I got angry and really blew up, I would be heard.
I would get my way (sometimes). Or at least my displeasure would be known.
I would feel powerful.
Boy was I wrong.
Instead of learning effective communication skills and learning to be comfortable expressing how I felt, I developed 2 modes.
Amiable and compliant, or angry and dogmatic.
Everything was great until it wasn’t. My angry outbursts would seem to come out of nowhere.
I was hurting the people closest to me, having regret for my behavior, and frustration that I still wasn’t really communicating what I needed.
“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.” Stephen Hawking
🌟I had weak boundaries.
Remember I said I had 2 modes, amiable and compliant or angry and dogmatic?
I would say yes to too many things.
I said yes to things I felt I should do because they were “expected”.
I said yes because I didn’t want to make waves or hurt feelings.
I said yes because at times I didn’t value my opinions enough to speak up.
I said yes because my thoughts were always changing. Bouncing toward whatever sounded good at the moment, but without any true direction.
That all led to feeling anxious and exhausted. Overworked and over-committed to things I really didn’t want to be doing to begin with.
Set your boundaries.
Establishing a clear set of boundaries is just like exercising any other muscle.
At first it might feel weak and floppy, but it gets stronger with every effort.
Setting boundaries forced me to examine what I really wanted and what I didn’t want in life.
It taught me how to use communication effectively. No yelling. No excuses. Just talking.
Over time I felt a lot better about myself and my life. I felt more inner peace, less anxiety, and less frustration.
“You need boundaries… Even in our material creations, boundaries mark the most beautiful of places, between the ocean and the shore, between the mountains and the plains, where the canyon meets the river.” ― Wm. Paul Young
Like any form of exercise, I have to keep practicing it.
There’s a part of me that still wants to default to anger.
Maybe we’re hardwired certain ways, or maybe my training was so early, that its roots are deep.
But now I recognize it, and I can stop myself before I go down that old familiar road.
And I don’t miss that old road one bit.
As always, I wish you all the best!