September 14, 2020

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If you have a problem with being angry or you don’t know how to be angry like me, read along.

I did not know how to be angry.
That doesn’t mean I don’t feel angry. It means I did not know how to deal with anger when it comes up.

For the longest time, I have always been so good at pushing down anger along with other negative emotions, that I never developed the skill to deal with “anger” when needed.

Comments like “Kabalo pud diay ka masuko, Sar?” or “Ay suko na diay ka ato? “Dili ko maimagine” are very common to me.

Because not a lot of people, even my close friends, have seen me get angry. It doesn’t help that I’m half ilongga and often sound malambing.

It’s only until I started doing some self-work that I’ve actually felt what real anger is.

You know how anger is portrayed in old cartoons, where someone turns red hot and smoke comes out of their ears and nose? I’ve felt that, and I was clueless on how to handle it.

One time, I had an “angry” experience.
I got angry with a friend and I sent her a voice message over messenger telling her off.
My friend got upset and we ended exchanging a few more angry texts until we just stopped talking to each other.

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Although I was pleased with myself in “feeling” angry. I realized quickly that I did not really end up where I wanted things to be.

But that experience taught me something really valuable, as I got to reflect more about how I dealt with that anger.

So HOW do you deal with anger?

The short answer to that is you feel it, but you don’t react, you respond, consciously.

Remember all emotions are valid.

But emotions can never validate an invalid behavior:


Being angry is never an excuse to be hurtful or rude to anyone, including your friends and loved ones.


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So here’s my current reflections around anger.

And obviously, I’m pretty new to this so I am no “anger management” expert, but hopefully you get to learn something with me here.

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Step 1: Acknowledging anger.

First of all, let’s agree on what anger is.
There are only two real sources of emotions. That’s love and fear.

So anger (like other negative emotions like pain/hurt) is actually just a guide to something deeper.
It is a useful emotion because it signals you that something is wrong, or something is amiss.

Maybe you feel that an injustice has been made, or on most occasions, it brings up a trauma or deep fears that need healing.

We have to shift from the perspective that anger is bad. It is not. So there’s no need to avoid it, push it down, or stop it.

Instead, you need to acknowledge that you ARE angry and have the belief that IT IS OKAY to be angry.

Now that you think being angry is okay, you’ll be more inclined to “welcoming” this emotion, or at least acknowledging that it is there.

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Once you know you’re angry, you can then start to become an observer of this emotion, or an observer of yourself feeling this emotion. The tricky part is reading into the “signs” and understanding what fear is this anger coming from? What is it trying to tell you? What is it that is wrong in the situation? Could it be someone else, or you? (Tip, it’s almost always you)

Is it the way someone treated you, or just the way that you interpreted how you were treated? Is it a real threat or a perceived threat? What “emotional trauma” is being triggered that requires attention and healing?

Either way, anger allows you to put your focus and attention into something that needs it.

For me in my example, the real reason that I was angry at that moment was I got triggered because I was accused of “not caring enough” for her and felt like I was being emotionally manipulated to make a decision. In reality, I was actually hurt with the way that my friend was communicating and I felt disrespected and unappreciated.

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Step 2: Expressing anger.

So now that we know anger is useful, how do you deal with anger?

Since anger is an emotion, like all other emotions you need to feel it. I like defining emotions as energy in motion. So the last thing you want is to suppress it.

That’s where trouble comes from, because there is really no effective way of suppressing energy.

It has to be transferred or transmuted into a different form.

The tricky part in this stage is to be considerate.

You have to be able to express anger (which is a strong force) in a way that is safe for you and for others.

Here’s a few practical examples. You can do one of them or all.

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Safe way:

  • screaming into a pillow.
  • talking to a person you trust and feel safe with to express why you’re angry
  • punching pillows
  • throwing pebbles into the ocean
    consciously eating stress food

Unsafe way:

  • screaming at somebody else
  • making an angry irrational rant in your social media
  • punching people
  • throwing breakable things to breakable targets
  • unconsciously overeating stress food

So going back to my example, instead of telling my friend off over voice message, what I could have done was talk to my partner about my anger and just give myself a chance to be present with my emotions and just really feel it, without reacting to it. Maybe talk to my partner about it, journal it, or eat ice cream before I react the way I did.


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Step 3: Processing anger.

Now that you’ve expressed anger, hopefully you’ll be calmer. You can then direct the remaining energy to “think”.

My favorite way to do this is with Journaling ( in whatever way). Journaling lets me transfer the emotion into paper and helps me reflect on why or where this anger energy is coming from.

At the very least, journaling lets me express my anger while giving enough insights on what’s causing it. On rare occasions it doesn’t lead to any realization, but that’s okay too.

A super helpful journaling technique is to write a letter to the person you are angry at. So you can curse this person, and say everything you want to say without filter.

If you want to give this a try, do this on paper or on a notepad, not on your email or messenger because this letter is not meant to be sent.

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It’s never a good idea to send a raw, unfiltered letter to that person.
This is for yourself, not for the other person.

And once you’ve calmed down, you can reread your letter and think about whether you still want to send it or not.

Most of the time, I find that it’s not. But if I still do, I end up writing a whole different letter that’s a lot more collected, composed, and is aimed at a solution and not to hurt or invoke more emotions.

Bonus tip: If you’re not angry at anyone else, write a letter to yourself.

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Step 4: Look at anger in the eye.

This part is a lot easier said than done.
It’s really helpful to have the belief that everything that happens serves us one way or another serves us.

Another helpful assumption to have is that no one intentionally wants to hurt other people, regardless of how “hurtful” their behavior had been, or how we interpret or take in the situation.

Think about it. When was the last time someone got angry at you? Especially a loved one? I bet it would be easy to “defend” or justify your actions because you probably did not intend or want to hurt that person.

You might just have been giving a mindless joke trying to have a good time, and didn’t know your joke was going to offend or hurt anyone.

You probably were just really tired and exhausted and you didn’t have the energy to listen or pay attention to your partner who was sharing something important.

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Okay, but what if it was a stranger? Or what if someone robbed you, you might ask?
Then be angry. Remember that it’s okay to be angry. Whatever you feel in the situation is valid.

The reality is no matter how angry we get at someone or at a situation, it’s always just a matter of taking the lesson out of the situation and learning from it.

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Step 5: The last part is letting anger go.

Once anger has been felt and it has pointed you to that something that needs fixing, it has served its purpose.

Has it helped you acknowledge triggers that need to be cleared? That needed to be understood?

Parts of yourself that needed to be let out, expressed, acknowledged?

Did it lead you to understand the deeper fears that are coming up? Has it led you further down the path of self-awareness?


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For me in my example.

I wasn’t really happy with how things went. I was sad that I hurt my friend.
The only thing I got right that time was that I allowed myself to feel angry.

However, I reacted to the situation instead of responding to it. That did not solve anything, instead it got into the way of me communicating what I think was wrong in the situation. 

What I was really feeling was hurt. I felt unappreciated and I could have communicated that better with my friend.
From that anger, I realized that my fear of being abandoned was coming up. I was never good at handling “not being liked” because of this fear. 

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My old story was that if I don’t please others, they will leave me so I felt responsible for the emotions of other people and felt the need “to make them happy”.

And although this is a deep-rooted fear and is probably going to need a lot more work to heal, I am glad with every opportunity I’m given to observe it, learn it, clear it.

Anger has served as a tool to bring my attention to deeper patterns that trigger me, and each time I become an observer, I learn.

So what’s left for me to do, is to thank anger for coming out and you thank myself for allowing anger to be felt.
And that’s the easiest way to rid anger, shift it to gratitude.

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You thank anger for being there and pointing you to the right direction and then you think about how you got there and you plan around it.

If all else fails, take a selfie so you can fake a smile, and repeat as necessary.

Hope this helps someone be angry today. smile


 x Sarah S.

*photos credit to the owners


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