I hate getting angry. Hate it. I despise how it makes me feel physically or how it twists an okay, or even a good, day into an utter crap-fest. So, it’ll come as no surprise that I try to avoid letting anger take hold.
But, when someone wastes my time, I find it hard to reign in my temper. In my latest Author Journal post, I mentioned that a time-waster cost me three days of my holiday on a project that wasn’t the emergency they’d professed it to be.
I’d half expected to lose it; I mean, I’d spent three days prepping and writing for a project that could have waited. But I was eerily calm. The kind of quiet where deep in the background, you know something big is building. Before I could analyze exactly what was building, an odd series of thoughts struck me, Why can’t I do what I used to do? Why can’t I take a step back and find the good in things anymore? Is there anything good that can come out of this fuck up?
Apparently, the pragmatic part of me woke up from a deep sleep. Did I want to be rational? Or did I want to dive headlong into the anger and wallow in it, in the hope that somewhere along the way, I found some catharsis? Part of me wanted to wallow, wanted to get angry about being screwed over…
But, anger is such a time-consuming emotion. And let’s be honest, without a cathartic release, or your anger leading to the best revenge plan ever, it’s also a time-wasting emotion. I’d already lost too much time, and I wasn’t in the mood to lose more.
Forcing the Good (or Planning for Evil)
So, in full grump mode, I grabbed a pen and some sheets of fancy paper and set about forcing some good out of a crappy situation. (The fancy paper was in case I came up with an excellent revenge plan. You don’t want that on tissue-thin printer paper.)
I’d planned on writing down every single thing about the situation that angered me, but after two short, very sweary paragraphs, I was done.
But I wasn’t happy.
I then tapped into how I used to find the good in things. What were the silver linings in what happened? I decided that I wasn’t moving from my desk until I got ten silver linings down on the page.
The whole thing took me less than thirty minutes. By the end, I’d voiced my annoyance, vented a fair bit of my anger, and felt better for it. I was stronger for it. I took control of my emotions; they didn’t control me. Plus, on top of my list of ten, I had a bonus silver lining, this post.
Want to Give it a Shot?
- Take some deep breaths.
- Get a pen, one you enjoy writing with, and some nice paper. (Typing doesn’t give the same visceral connection as scribbling madly across the page.)
- Write one or two–yes, only one or two–paragraphs about why you’re angry, about how you feel. Be specific, e.g. you feel insulted. Go wild. Get it all out. Go until all you have left are the petty things, e.g. your coffee is now cold because they made you angry.
- Now. Force yourself to write ten positives from the situation. I struggled for the first three, but then they started flowing.
- Give yourself a pat on the back for taking charge of the situation!
… and Breathe
Will this work for everyone? Probably not. But it might work for some, and that’s good enough in my book.
Have you ever tried this kind of silver lining method? Do you think it could work for you?
Thanks for reading. Next Friday, I’ll be back with a new “What I’m Reading” post. See you soon!
10 thoughts on “Snatching Silver Linings from the Snarling Jaws of Anger”
Thank you for sharing this excellent method, Susan!
First of all, I am very glad that you were able to put your finger on the anger, own it and allow it to transform into strength for you. That in itself can be a challenge and I admire you for having mastered it. 💗
Secondly, I intend to implement this method into my own life. So, I am very grateful that you have shared it.
It adds more structure to what I have done, until now, which was just writing it all out. Yes, usually an insight or two are coming out of this, as well, and sometimes said catharsis. But it comes with exhaustion and a sore hand. Your method I find genius because of how it is saving time and energy. I love solution-oriented approaches that also allow for emotional flow (as in my case that often is part of the solution).
Thanks, Stefanie! I’m so glad this wee method speaks to you. I hope you don’t have to use it too much, but when you do, I wish you amazing silver linings. 💖
Good for you, Susan! Seething resentment is more my style, but I have written in order to rationalise my feelings. The main positive that comes out of bad experiences for me is knowing I have authentic feelings to draw upon in my stories and poetry.
Seething resentment gives me headaches. But I fully agree on the positive of using the experience and emotions as fodder for our work.👍
Chris Hall: mentioned this in Snatching Silver Linings from the Snarling Jaws of Anger susantbraithwaite.com/2022/02/25/sna… via @SusBraithwaite. via twitter.com
It will take some time for me to do this. I don’t get angry at stuff much any more but when I do I’ll let you know 🙂
Thanks, Brian! It’s good to know that you don’t get angry too much–it’s a far nicer life without anger weighing us down. 😊
Stefanie Neumann: liked this. via twitter.com
Stefanie Neumann: Snatching Silver Linings from the Snarling Jaws of Anger susantbraithwaite.com/2022/02/25/sna… via twitter.com