I open up the email and I feel a tightness in my throat and chest. I want the email to disappear. My skin starts to crawl. I’m pissed.
I’ve been working on project and one of the collaborators sent a message that I don’t agree with. I know better than to respond to an email when my skin is crawling. I step away from my computer and resolve to answer the next day.
In a 2014 interview for Creative Live, Brene Brown discusses anger. She says that anger is almost always a boundary issue. In short, if you are angry at someone, it probably means that on some level you haven’t set a strong enough boundary with this person.
I grew up in a house where anger wasn’t expressed and most of my life trying to hide my anger and push it away. I’ve always thought of anger as a negative emotion that I shouldn’t be feeling. Hearing Brene Brown discuss anger as an indicator of a boundary issue, anger as something to be curious about, feels like a completely new concept to me.
Anger can be good? Anger can tell me something I didn’t know about myself?
When I think back to the email that made me angry, things become more clear. This collaborator and I have been trying to work together for months and I’m finally realizing, it’s not working for me. As we move into the next phase of the project, I’m not willing to collaborate. This is my boundary. It feels good to say it.
I am learning that I can’t push my anger away and at the same time build the life that I want. It’s uncomfortable. And it can be messy. But I’m learning to acknowledge my anger and I’m learning to trust it.
Do you want to:
- Learn more about your emotions?
- Stop feeling so drained?
- Have more time for what you love?
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Career Burnout Coach
The Courage Compass