How many times have you felt angry and then felt angry about getting angry?
How many times you are anxious about being anxious?
Anger and anxiety come hand in hand. I sometimes don’t even realize when I’m angry or when I’m just anxious. It sometimes feels like my anger is making me anxious and at other times anxiety makes me angry. These two emotions interplay.
I always thought anger is like any other emotion. Just like we are sometimes happy and sometimes not, we can get sometimes angry and at others, we won’t. But that was until I came across the term ‘self-awareness’.
What does self-awareness even mean?
Simply put, having a sense of who you actually are is self-awareness. But how many of us know who we really are?
Can you quickly come up with answers to:
When do I feel happy?
What makes me sad?
What triggers my anger?
What am I actually scared of?
Many of us feel the need for a therapist to find answers to even these simple questions. Not because a therapist knows us better but because we are brought up to never acknowledge who we really are. Now that is not the case with everyone. You are here reading this post because you know anger and anxiety get the better of you.
To answer these questions it could take you years and years of practice but it is all worth it. Self-awareness, you’ll find out, is like an onion – as Mark Manson defines it. It has multiple layers and the deeper you delve into the layers the more you are likely to cry and that too at quite inappropriate times. But it’s ok.
We all have our Emotional Blind Spots
The first layer of this spiral of self-awareness is to know your emotions. We’ll only deal with the first layer here.
This is where many of us fail.
Yes, we don’t even get past the first layer, let alone the rest.
I know that because I am myself still struggling to get past this layer and trying to pave my way into a deeper more profound understanding of myself.
If you are lucky enough to get past the first layer, you can dig into the second one which needs you to find an answer to why you feel the way you feel.
We all have emotional blind spots. Emotions are a major driving force behind most of our actions. Although emotions are often defined as our body’s biological responses to protect us, we deal with them on a whole different level.
If you want to get rid of your anger and anxiety issues, you first need to acknowledge the fact that you have anger issues. You have anxiety issues. They are there. Don’t deny the fact that you get angry or anxious at times.
There is no one to blame
Many of us don’t acknowledge the fact that we have an issue. For those of us who do we always have someone to blame.
I got angry because so and so did this and this.
I am worried because they did this.
And so we think that we are entitled to sympathies, we are entitled to be pampered and taken care of just because we feel a certain way about the situation.
My life is full of problems…
It couldn’t have been worse…
Only if it were this way…
Only if this hadn’t happened this way…
Only if my father did this…
Only if my mother did that…
If my spouse were a little more caring…
If my children cared a little more about me…
We all choose our struggles. Some of us struggle to get out of our problems. Others struggle to stay in them.
Yes, a lot of us never try to get out of our situations, our anger, our anxiety. Perhaps because we are too busy blaming others and circumstances to actually do anything about it.
Put Yourself Under Investigation
If you really want to do something about why you get angry or why you get anxious at things other’s are totally capable of handling, you need to investigate.
You will be the investigator and you will be the one being investigated.
This is the first step to self-awareness. I started with my most dreaded emotions.
When you first discover yourself it’s just as bad as swallowing a bitter pill. But it’s just as important to healing.
When do I get angry?
When things don’t go the way I want them to. I boil over a plan canceled because of whatever reason… Someone getting late… Not finding my ‘yes-this-is-the-one’ dress… Someone not behaving the way I want…
I guess when we are angry, it’s more about us than anyone else. Not that I am not empathetic at other times and that this stuff always drives me nuts. But it is the case when I am angry.
I also get angry because of getting angry. The guilt turns into fuel for me feeling even more agitated. The loop goes on. Feeling angry because of feeling angry because of feeling angry…
When do I get upset?
When I can’t do anything about my situation.
When I feel helpless.
When I feel not being understood.
We, humans, are in a habit of putting our loved ones into a lot of pressure. Others, just like ourselves, are as feeble and weak as we are. They are like a twig. If you put so much burden on them they will break. Because they were not made to handle so much weight in the first place.
For those of us who don’t find the ability to develop a connection with God, we are always looking for support in others. The kind of support humans just can’t give us. That’s where we lose again and again. The lesson is hard to learn and takes repeated falls.
When am I happy?
When things go my way.
No points for guessing that. We all love that.
When I can find a solution to one of my problems.
We all have problems and we will continue to have problems. We have to decide on what problems we are willing to live with. As opposed to the common belief, happiness doesn’t come from more. More money, more respect, more social status, more houses, more cars, more friends, more whatever… that’s just something we need to inflate our bubble of desires.
Yes, you will feel happy when you get something but that happiness is short-lived and the time span decreases with time. I don’t even need to elaborate on that.
True happiness comes from finding solutions to our problems. Problems are therefore only there to make us feel happy. Many of us don’t realize that.
What makes me anxious?
When fear gets the good of me.
I’m not sure what’s going to happen.
I tend to assume things and then continue to feel awful about it.
Fear is an emotion. Yes, but it’s just our body’s way of telling us to protect ourselves. We tend to wear our selves out in fear. That’s because we are too concerned with what was and what will be.
Many times we miss the point that is right there in front of us only because we are too occupied with either what previously happened or what might happen.
The sooner you realize the better; you have no control over what is to come. What has gone by is the past. It’s like the grains of sand. They are out of your fist.
You only have this moment. This moment is your now.
90% of the time the moment we are in is not as bad as we tend to make it in our minds. Many times we are not even there. We are either worried about the future unseen or the past that is gone for good.
Observe the Patterns
Once you have the answers to all your questions about your emotions, sit down. Better still sleep over it. Next day think about them. Read what you wrote. Look at it from another perspective. You will realize where the problem is.
I realized that most of my emotional problems came from me being too obsessed with the illusion of control. I want to control what’s happening. That is not possible. I can try, of course, but nature and the universe don’t go the way I want them to.
Things happen the way you want them to and then they don’t.
I just had too many damns to give to everything happening in my life. Yes, stuff happens but you don’t have to soak yourself in sweat for every little or even bigger things in life. Just let them be.
Things start making sense after a certain point. Only you have to keep those eyes of yours open for that.
Learn to find out who you are.
Find out when your emotions get triggered.
Work on self-awareness.
Only when you know the root cause, will you ever find out how to solve the problem.
That’s what therapists do. They essentially try to help you find out what you willing deny to yourself.
They don’t have the answers. They just get them out of you.