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I’m Mad As Hell And I’m not Going to Take it Out On You Anymore!

“You d

o not have to be good,” is a line from a poem by Mary Oliver (Wild Geese). When I first read that line I was shocked. Growing up an Irish Catholic in Boston (yes, home of the Puritans), I learned early in life that ‘being good’ was required.

Over the years, I learned that while being good is an important part of ‘being a good person,” believing that I had to be good all the time caused problems. Why? Because it meant that I had to pretend that I never got angry. And anger is a normal part of a person’s range of emotions. It’s not getting or feeling angry that’s a problem; it’s what we do with that anger.

To release my anger appropriately I learned to:

  • Hit the bed with a tennis racket (try it, it’s great!)
  • Scream loudly while driving in the car (alone, of course- on the highway is best)
  • Exercise and play sports
  • Listen to really loud music (and dance around)
  • Talk to a friend, who will listen and not give advice (second part is really important)

In times of stress, we all find ways to cope. At this time of the year, particularly with New Year’s resolutions flying around, I want us to talk about this emotion. I can be a hidden enemy since there are a lot of unhealthy ways to cope with it. And worst of all, when I don’t deal with it, it comes out sideways in the form of overeating,unnecessary shopping and yelling at the people at inappropriate times. I really don’t want to do any of those.

I dislike new year’s resolutions so I’m not making any. I do like focus and I have my eyes on the prize for 2010.

Mine are:

1) Live one day at a time, just this day right here.

2) Tell the people who mean the most to me how much I love them, everyday.

That’s it.

Got constructive ways of dealing with anger? Please share them so we can all learn to cope better.

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