“Karen, you have a temper.”
(ack, definitely not something I wanted to hear..)
KT: But, but… err uhh…. have you seen my sparkly bright eyes and big smile? I think you’re mistaking me for someone else.
“There’s nothing wrong with having a temper. Accept it. Be aware of it.”
KT: Let’s do the math. Soooo, you’re saying that 90% of the time I’m merrily walking on the road of life, all is well, not a care in the world. And 10% of the time I have a temper, and in the 10% it’s only with specific topics?
KT: Sheesh, throw me a bone would ya?!
“Umm, did you just get upset?”
KT: What?! Me? NO!
“That sounds like you’re upset.”
KT: Errg. Sigh.
It’s been a difficult topic for me to digest. Yet, it’s been radically liberating.
As I continue to study the subject of anger, I begin with myself.
Accepting a character trait (that I don’t want to have!) has allowed me to embrace and admit who I am. With that admittance came the following….
If I have a temper, even if it’s only 10% of the time, I’m going to be the most amazingest, fantasticest, awesomest temper woman ever known to the human race.
“Oh my,” ponders the reader. “Such a big, bold proclamation. How will Karen measure her success with this grandios declaration?”
Here is how I’ll measure my success:
In the moments I feel angry, I still really like myself.
For those who have experienced any level of ‘temper’, have you noticed how deflated you feel afterwards? How long it takes you to calm down? How you need to take a walk and be alone? How low you feel? How drained? How discouraged? How sad? How exhausted? Or how quiet or solemn you get? And sometimes, welling up with tears?
The bottom line is, I don’t like me when I have a temper, or when I get upset, or whatever word you want to use.
Why would I ever want to show or express my temper when I don’t like who I am while in it?
I’d rather stuff it deep, deep down inside me and pretend it doesn’t exist. Ta-dah! Magic trick! Now you see it, now you don’t . Poof, it’s gone! Yay me!
I might think I can ignore or avoid the topic for a time or a season, but it will eventually catch up with me. And ooze out of me. The more I deny that I have the emotion of anger living inside me, the more it will erode me.
Anger is not my identity. I’m not an angry person. However, I do have anger living inside me – just like I have joy, patience, goodness, kindness, peace and love indwelling my character.
Admit I have a temper. Accept I have a temper. Embrace I have a temper. But! Be self-accountable in my temper – that I may shine brightly in my temper.
Self-accountability grants me the freedom to explore these emotions, and to mature them, and to excel in them and to radiate exuberant life through them.
What if I can be life-giving whilst angry?
What if my frustration doesn’t squelch joy in others?
What if people feel safe in the midst of my temper?
Whether I express my feelings of anger or I remain quiet and composed, the energy of anger is still there. Anger begins with your body and your body gives off this temper vibe whether we admit it or not.
That’s what was confusing me. I was told I was cruel when I was angry – not because of the words I’d use – but because of the energy that was oozing off of me. It was unpredictable. It was “out of charcter” and caught people off guard. The energy that I was trying to stuff and hide was only fooling one person: me. I would talk myself out of thinking that I had a temper, and all the while, everyone could see it.
That’s why professional counsellors ask us to find the area in our bodies where we feel angry. For me, I feel my temper begin in the chest region. (and I feel anxiety in my stomach. Those are two distinctly different emotions. Anxiety is not anger.)
Now that I’m aware that my temper is expressing itself in my body, I can navigate it with confidence.
KT: “Uh oh. My chest has a lot of energy. That means I’m upset. Which means my temper has been activated. Ok, KT, what’s going on? What happened and how does it make you feel?”
The above sentence is truly what I say. Literally! Yes, really. This is the new me. And it’s been unbelievably liberating.
Because I’ve found a deeper level of my voice. My temper is a gift to me, and telling me to use my words – to find my voice.
RATE THE BELOW THREE QUESTIONS 1 through 5: (1 is “awesome!” and 5 is “not good” )
1. How well do I express my thoughts and feelings when I’m upset?
2. How well do I make others feel safe and heard when I have a temper?
3. How well do I use humour and not take myself so seriously when I’m angry?
We are evolving and growing and learning and maturing and becoming. Isn’t that a relief? Who you are today will be even brighter tomorrow, because you are choosing to excel in your character more than making excuses. Nice! I like that!
ps1. If you If you didn’t get a chance to read February’s Part One of “Do Angry Well”, this link will take you to that article.
ps2. If you’d like to process your thoughts, schedule a 20 minute free consultation with me. Always happy to listen and support however I can!
photo of girl by: LOTTE MEIJER
photo of lion by: PAWAN SHARMA