Anger and Mindfulness {Self-Discovery Word-by-Word}

Hi, I’m McKella and I’m the poster girl for passive-aggressive anger.


Ok, let’s back up for a second.  I participated in last month’s Self-Discovery Word-by-Word, and I loved it so much I wanted to contribute to this month’s too. When I realized that this month’s word is “Anger”, I almost decided to skip it. “What do I know about anger?” I thought. “I hardly ever get angry.”

That was two weeks ago, and since then I’ve realized that there are two kinds of people in this world that don’t get angry: People like my Uncle Rhett, who never take crap from people but deal with it in a low-key way, and people who get walked all over and pushed around until they finally explode.

How did I never see it?

I’ve never been good at standing up for myself.  My mom often says that when I was little, I never got candy when the pinata broke because I wouldn’t dive in and fight for it like the other kids. I cry when people get mad at me. I avoid conflict of any sort and when someone pisses me off, I keep my mouth shut.

I’ve lived this way all my life, afraid to express any emotion I considered negative or inconvenient for other people and those corked-up feelings manifested in my body though weight gain, adrenal fatigue, compulsive and restrictive eating, depression and anxiety.

When I discovered Intuitive Eating a few years ago, I realized that I had a whole underground chamber of emotions to sort through before I could ever be free of eating problems, and I’ve only recently reached the point where I can deal with these emotions without gorging myself on chocolate chip cookies. I’ve slowly let my suppressed anger bubble to the surface so I can experience it and then let it go.

I’ve learned that emotions aren’t good or bad, they’re just emotions, and I’ve finally…finally…given myself permission to experience them. I’m not a bad person for feeling angry or sad or competitive. With this kind of emotional freedom comes  a greater ability to experience feelings and understand their roots,  to go deeper and deeper and fully understand why I  hurt in the first place. With this understanding comes freedom of choice: “Should I really let this bother me?” or “Is this really a big deal?”. It’s like a ladder to greater mindfulness, and embracing my anger was the first step.

Now, emotions allow me to gauge how I’m doing and how I need to take care of myself. They’re like pressure gauges and thermometers. Pissed off? Time to get some space. Overwhelmed? Time for self-care. Resentful? There’s a misunderstanding somewhere and we’d better work it out.

In this sense, anger is a gift for self-awareness. When used properly, it’s  a tool for self-improvement.  Learn from it, experience it, use it. It’s a beautiful thing.

This post was written as part of the Self -Discovery Word-by-Word series. The May series is hosted by Jules at Big Girl Bomshell. Get details here to participate!


Posted on May 18, 2011, in Authenticity, Intuitive Eating and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I can completely relate to what you are saying here. I lived a big portion of my life not feeling my emotions …well except for anger. Unlike you I’ve always been good with that one. Just yesterday I was writing a gratitude exercise to my friend and I started writing about how I was feeling about one of my sons graduating high school. I started crying, sobbing really. When it was over I wrote how grateful I was that I could feel. It made me feel alive. What a gift those emotions can be!

  2. Thanks for participating this month. Yes..anger is one of those words (emotions) that a lot of us can say NOPE not me but once we look a little deeper, well actually a lot deeper, we see JUST how much the anger is lying in wait to be expressed.

  3. Hey McKella – congrats for having the courage to face this so honestly (and writing about it so well). I wonder how many other Word-by-Worders who would normally blog had just that reaction – Anger? Heavens, no, I’m only going to blog about the niceemotions.

    If we only allow ourselves to feel the “nice” or safe emotions, it’s like choosing to only see half the colors in the rainbow.

    • It’s true! I think you need to experience all kinds of emotions to appreciate them. The unpleasant ones aren’t meant to hang around all the time, but they each have something to teach us. And I love your rainbow analogy!

  4. I loved the way you started this post! I too am not usually an ‘angry person’, which is why, when I start to get angry, I realize that I’m probably not standing up for myself or looking after my own needs. I struggle with this constantly! And you’re right, boy, does it impact our mind and body health.

    • Ha, I almost skipped this month! Then I sat on my couch thinking about what to write and BAM, there it was. I can’t believe I never saw it before. I think people like us live in denial of certain emotions.

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