Recently, I've been pissed. Is it okay to say that? Even more importantly, is it okay to feel that way?
I've been struggling with anger a lot lately, and the end result is that I end up feeling guilty for feeling angry, because it is the opposite of love, peace, and all the other warm-fuzzies that I should be not only feeling, but showing. As a Christian woman, I should be above fleshly fits and testy tantrums. I should embrace forgiveness and extend grace. I should take deep, slow breaths....and exhale.
I know, I know. Blah, blah, blah.
But it is excruciatingly difficult for me. Believe me, I am no martyr, no example to others, and certainly no pillar of knowledge. Yet, I know when I begin to simmer, it's not what I should be doing. And in that knowledge, I earnestly do want to do better. I want to work through, shake off, and dismiss that bitterness that seems to take over my bones. My focus becomes so intensely concentrated on the person who wrote me off or the situation I cannot control, and within that framework the only thing I can feel is anger. And as a Christian who has also suffered with depression and anxiety, I know that letting that anger take hold can lead to very dark places.
So, I've been working on it lately. And this is what I've been doing.
1. I've been giving myself a break. The truth is that I never reach that point in the day where I can say that I accomplished everything I wanted to. But if I make progress, I celebrate it.
2. I've been giving others a break. Unrealistic expectations of family and friends is often what gets me most angry. Putting that expectation in perspective helps me find peace.
3. And lastly, I've been trying to open up. I was recently told that if I don't tell someone what I'm going through, it deprives them of the chance to be what I need and help me through my struggles. It isn't easy, but opening up is helping.
Look, I don't have all the answers. But for me, a big part of the answer lies in being honest about how I'm feeling, no matter how deeply that conflicts with the way others think I should feel, or even I myself feel. And with that honesty comes growth. Eventually, I would like to be all warm-fuzzies, but in the meantime, I will continue to work through pissed and into peace.