I Am Not Angry Anymore (Part 2)
What have you learned about your anger this week as you processed I Am Not Angry Anymore? (Part 1)
Last week, I shared with you the process I utilize when I get angry and the freedom I find as I slow the process down and “unpack” the story or the layers and behavior patterns (references from Part 1) that I created around the event that occurred.
Today, I’m going to share with you an embarrassing story of what this looked like for me a few weeks ago. My ego, pride, and arrogance waged war on the impact I wanted to make during a rare dinner event with some very special people.
I had an opportunity to introduce my coach, Dan Tocchini, an extremely gifted coach and trainer with over thirty years' experience, to a part of my audience. I was super excited to do this, as we were working together to offer people another level of transformation and continue my growth as a coach and trainer. As the opportunity unfolded, I saw the impact that was occurring for everyone. Much to my surprise thoughts began coming into my mind like:
"Dan is the one creating the impact, not you."
"They are going to like Dan so much more than you."
"You won’t be wanted or needed anymore."
The layers began to build as these messages swirled around in my head like stinging bees. One minute I knew better than to think such things, and the next I thought about how true these thoughts might be. This battle between being angry at myself for thinking such self-centered, prideful, and arrogant thoughts was in opposition to being afraid that these thoughts were true.
In the midst of the war, my brain was working to prove my thoughts true as I recalled moments earlier that day when I had seen people talking to Dan. I started making up conversations they might have been having with him that would confirm my fears about myself. At the same exact time, I was on the other side of the mental battlefield telling myself:
"Julia, are you crazy?'
"This isn’t about you. Whatever it takes to create the impact is all that matters."
"How could you think such thoughts?"
A familiar pattern of behavior quickly followed as I began to isolate myself. I headed to dinner with Dan and the team who had put the event together and, as I rode in the car, I started digging into my thoughts. It was like a boxing match with myself. I was fighting both sides of the battle! I hoped that, by giving both sides a voice, I could make sense of it and get rid of the stinging thoughts that were causing me to not want to participate in this dinner I was hosting.
By the time we arrived, I believed I had my thoughts under control but, as I sat down at the table, I realized the battle wasn’t over. My second pattern of behavior began as I picked up the menu.
When I am upset or feel insecure, I easily go into a scarcity mindset - up until now. It feels as if my world is falling apart and the first place my mind goes is “There won’t be enough for me.” As my eyes scanned the menu, all I could see were the dollar signs. I decided to order a few sides and skip a glass of wine because "Why spend money if I am not going to have any clients after this?" (I laugh now at how absurd the thought was, but that is the reality of how my brain functions when I let my thoughts run away with me and give into anger - up until now.)
After placing my order and saying "no" to the glass of wine I really wanted, my sister, who was with me, said, “What's going on, Jules? You seem upset.” I said, "Well, I am trying to work through something, and I am mad at myself for what I am thinking." She then asked if I wanted to talk about it, and I said, “No, it's just my ego, and I am working to get it under control.
At that moment, the unpacking process began. While I thought I had done the unpacking during the car ride, I realized the lack of fruit it produced indicated that all I had actually done was pour more fuel on the layers and patterns surrounding the anger.
My sister’s willingness to help me see that my mood was impacting the evening (although I'd hoped no one noticed - Classic Case of DENIAL!) was the first level of truth I needed. By admitting to everyone at the table that my ego was an issue, I sent up the white flag of surrender in the battle.
You see, I had been thinking about this dinner for a while. I had imagined how exciting it would be to sit with these amazing people, who had offered so much over the previous months to make this all possible, and I wanted to celebrate our accomplishments.
In that moment, I realized I had a choice. I could stay in my isolation, held captive by the insanity spiraling in my head, or I could shift and be present with what I really wanted.
I longed to have fun and celebrate, and I knew I was the only one to blame for that not happening.
I quickly noticed how scarcity had gotten in my way, and I decided to interrupt that. When the waiter came back, I requested the drink I wanted. My mood immediately started lifting. Within seconds, my mind shifted from myself to those sitting with me. I began offering my gratitude to them and, as I shared my heart, tears filled my eyes at how amazing each person is. (And no, I wasn't emotional because I was drinking. My glass of wine hadn’t even made it to the table yet.) It was such a gift to not be angry anymore and, instead, be immersed in that moment the way I longed to be.
After dinner, I talked with Dan about where my thoughts had taken me earlier. It was such a relief to be vulnerable about my humanity and experience how much grace he had for me. He understood why those thoughts might come and yet he spoke truth that was truer than those limiting messages had been. The craziest thing was that he shared with me the negative thoughts that had come to his mind, tempting him to be afraid, as well.
It was a powerful moment of vulnerability and connection in our humanity. It was freeing to know that negative thoughts are a part of what comes when you step into the unknown and create something new. They are a part of being human. However, they don’t have to take you out of the life you want to live unless you allow them to.
We all long to create impact, but many times we allow our anger to get in the way of our intention.
What is anger taking away from you? How could curiosity and the process of inquiry or unpacking allow you to get off the sidelines of your life and into the game where you long to be?