Today’s big idea is one question to ask yourself to help you disengage from feeling angry long enough to be able to determine what you can do about it.
First I just want to say that if you are feeling angry all the time lately, welcome to the club! There are so many reasons why this is true, and so many good reasons WHY you might be feeling made a lot of the time. Maybe there’s something physiological, emotional, or collective going on. (Refer back to episode 538, which aired on Tuesday, for more information about these three common causes.)
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Maybe feeling angry is your go-to emotion, something that’s become a habit that you aren’t sure how to break. While knowing the reason is helpful, and gives you direction on what to do about your anger, there’s one question that can help you figure out what’s triggering you, and point you toward something you can do about it.
And that question is:
Which of my needs are not being met?
Because as a human being, you have needs–everything from food, shelter, and financial security, to love, freedom, respect, and self-actualization. And I find that a lot of times feeling angry is a sign that there’s a need that’s not being fulfilled.
Here’s an example:
During the pandemic, I was experiencing a severe alone-time deficit. I do love socializing and being around people, but I am an introvert and need alone time to come back to baseline. So all the togetherness was really challenging for me.
The kids were home from school, my husband was working from home, and I was working from a desk in the living room, which worked great when everyone left the house each day, and a disaster for my sanity and my productivity when everyone was home all day. I was the hub of the wheel–everyone going anywhere in our small house had to walk past me. Heck, I was even visible from our front door so even people who weren’t inside the house would sometimes interact with me. I felt exposed and also trapped. I got really really cranky because alone time is how I decompress and recharge, and I couldn’t figure out how to meet that need for myself.
After the first several weeks, when it became clear that we weren’t all going to be heading back out in to the world anytime soon, I started taking alone time in my car. I’d park on the side of the road in a different neighborhood and just be there, in the silence. Sometimes I’d play boggle or listen to a podcast. Sometimes I meditated. And sometimes I just sat there. It really helped me feel better, and it helped me stay on a more even keep, emotionally.
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to give yourself 5-10 minutes of quiet time to ask yourself, what need do I have that is going unmet?
Is it alone time?
It is feeling heard, understood, or connected?
Is it sleep?
Time with friends?
It could be ANY NUMBER of things–there is no one right or wrong answer here.
My only caveat is that you really do want to drill down to the thing that you NEED. I mean, if you’re angry because the great pair of jeans you wanted to buy is now sold out — another side effect of the pandemic, as our supply chains are all kinds of mixed up –well, your need isn’t for that exact pair of jeans. Maybe it’s to feel good in your body, or to feel confident.
So keep asking yourself, what is the true need? Really being able to distill the thing you require and deserve will help motivate you to make it happen. Every human has needs, and you deserve to have your needs met.
And then brainstorm a handful of ways you could get that need met
Don’t get too attached to specifics, here, because there are always multiple ways to get what you need. If you need to feel appreciated and your spouse just seems incapable of expressing words of appreciation, how can you appreciate yourself?
You may even find that it’s helpful to fill that need for someone else, just so you can experience the energy of it and start vibrating at that level and draw that thing to you.
If you want to feel heard and understood, can you first seek to hear and understand someone else?
Just start from where you are, and do what you can with what you’ve got. And then you’ll be in motion and on the path. And how you will be able to lessen your day-to-day anger levels, because you will be channeling the energy that’s contributing to your anger in a constructive way and giving it somewhere to go. In other words, it’s how you use your anger as fuel to get what you need.
Remember, your emotions aren’t here to torture you; they’re messengers, giving you information about what you value, need, and want. Put that information to good use, and your emotions won’t have to try so hard to get your attention!
Hope you have a lovely weekend.