Updated: Nov 5, 2020
The story of my struggle and recovery from an eating disorder is the basis for what led me to create the KARMA Method, the signature coaching and therapeutic method used by Bespoke Wellness Partners. My hope is that maybe some of these stories will resonate with you or make you more aware of where you are on your specific journey with whatever struggles you may be facing.
One day my mother walked into my room pretending to be happy. Clearly, her smile was forced, but I didn’t want to say anything to upset her. She announced, “I had a meeting at your school and the guidance counselor informed me that they found another Kibbutz that is willing to accept you even though the year started already.” I didn't say a word, but inside, I was wishing that I could disappear from this world. Forever.
As I occupied myself with other disturbing thoughts, my father walked out of the shower and walked towards the living room. “Well well well,” he exclaimed with a huge smile on his face, “it seems that there is a very important meeting going on and I am not included.” I didn't want my father to get angry because I knew what he was capable of doing.
“We're not doing anything behind your back. We are just here to talk about the possibility of me also going to a Kibbutz,” I told him. My father's facial expression shifted, and he looked at my mom with anger. He banged his hand on the table and pushed the bowl of fruit onto the floor. The glass came crashing down to the ground. After asking my dad to stop, he walked away. Minutes later, he was dressed and left the apartment with anger after slamming the door.
Have you ever felt so angry, you wanted to punch a hole in the wall, but instead, you held it all inside? Or maybe you did pursue your anger through destructive actions, and in that case, this post can help you too. In that short story from my childhood, I shared my dad’s volatile anger, but I was also feeling personal indignation. Neither one of us expressed our anger and resentment in healthy ways that got to the root of it. The goal of this blog is to help you overcome your anger in a healthy way—without bottling it up, acting recklessly, and/or becoming resentful. Here are five easy steps to try the next time you feel anger:
1. Acknowledge why you are angry.
This one sounds simple and kind of obvious, but most of us feel angry from time to time, and yet we often don’t give our anger the right love and attention. Oftentimes, we feel angry because we are hurt or confused or scared. Try to get to the root of why you are angry. Did someone or something make you angry? If you’re too quick to dismiss your anger, it can build up and start affecting more than just a few moments of your day.
2. Normalize your reaction.
Most of us get angry, but we rarely tell ourselves that it’s okay to be angry and that expressing our feelings is actually very healthy. A vital first step to overcoming anger is accepting that it's okay for you to be angry. Once you accept it, it is much easier to change it. Now, I’m not suggesting you smash the glass and start screaming at strangers (as in the example with my dad). However, anger is a very human emotion. It’s good to remind yourself of that at the moment. Being angry from time to time doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. Plus, sometimes you can channel your anger into action or use it to uncover other emotions or problems that are plaguing you.
3. Validate yourself.
Tell yourself that not only is it normal and common to feel angry from time to time, it’s also okay. In my example from my childhood, I felt extreme anger at being sent away to live with strangers, but I didn’t feel I had the right to express that. The truth is, I was right to feel anger over having no control over my life. We can’t always look to others to tell us we are right. Instead, practice self-talk and try telling yourself something like, “I have every right to be angry right now because…”.
4. Know what defense mechanism you are using when trying to get out of your anger mode.
Just as it’s normal and justified to feel angry from time to time, it’s also normal to want to get rid of that anger so you don’t end up doing something you regret. Be aware of your thoughts and actions surrounding your angry mood. I often tried to channel my anger into starving myself. Other defense mechanisms can include displacement—or taking your anger out on someone else. Do you find that you are angry about something that happened at work and you notice yourself picking a fight with your husband or kids? Denial is another defense mechanism. Do you stuff your feelings of anger deep down and refuse to admit you are angry in the first place?
5. Write down a few sentences about what you are feeling and finish with at least one thing you are grateful for.
Journaling can be so therapeutic. First of all, it makes you take the time to stop and think about yourself and your feelings. It also helps with the other steps. When you write your thoughts down on paper, it helps you with validating your anger and normalizing it. It also forces you to acknowledge the anger in the first place. Finally, I recommend finishing your thoughts with one thing that brings joy to your life. It’s good to understand that no matter how angry you are, you still have control of your emotions, and flipping the switch in your brain for even just a second to conjure up feelings of gratitude or joy, is a good method for moving past your anger in a healthy way.
Working through your anger involves awareness, an important part of my KARMA Coaching Method. Anger is also often tied to our feelings about what happened in the past, and before you can release the past (another KARMA step), you need to address your anger and where it comes from. If you’re looking for help, it can never hurt to reach out.
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With much love,