When you are feeling angry sometimes you need to ask yourself – Who am I really mad at?
As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I’m frustrated with myself I sometimes project that frustration onto other people. Sure the person may have done something minor to upset me but my level of anger or frustration still doesn’t add up.
That’s when I realize that it’s not the other person I’m mad at – it’s myself.
Here are a few thoughts on digging deeper and getting to the core of who you are really mad at and why.
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Understand other people are a mirror
I read about this recently in a brilliant book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.
Jen Sincero says –
We’re all attracted to, as well as turned off by, various things about other people. And the things that stand out the most to us are the things that remind us the most of ourselves. This is because other people are like mirrors for us: If somebody bugs you, you’re projecting onto them something you don’t like about yourself, and if you think they’re awesome, they’re reflecting back something that you see in yourself that you like (even if it’s not developed in you yet).
In the same chapter, she goes on to say –
The things that bother us about other people bother us because they remind us of something that we don’t like about ourselves. Or their behavior triggers a fear or insecurity that we have, but may not realize we have.
When I was reading this chapter, it made perfect sense and I could remember particular instances where this had happened.
Once you are aware you are projecting onto people, you can take the emphasis off them and think about what triggered your feelings. Then you can work on dealing with them.
Related content that can help with triggers and feelings of insecurity –
- Know Your Trigger Words and How to Deal with Them
- 12 Techniques to Stop Feeling Inferior
- Know Your Own Worth
Your level of anger doesn’t match the issue or wrongdoing
This is usually the first indicator that your anger is being misdirected or at least being shared with another issue.
For me personally, it’s more about frustration than actual anger. The other person rarely knows I am angry at them as my frustration is all internalized.
I’m a person who takes a lot to get really angry (unless it involves the mistreatment of animals or children but that’s a whole different story).
Allow me to digress for a moment. In my twenties, I mentioned to a friend that I had a bad temper when I was pushed too far. He was shocked. He’s never seen me lose my temper.
Not long after that discussion, we were involved in a frightening car spin-out because my friend was racing another driver up a narrow mountain road and lost control. When the car finally came to a standstill and I realized we were both okay (though probably a little in shock), I let him have it.
I confess I wasn’t very ladylike about it. I used every swear word I knew and told him never to risk my life again. He started the car and we both remained silent. After about 30 mins he said, “you really do have a bad temper don’t you”. Argggggh!!
Most of the time, however, I’m pretty even-tempered. I generally forgive quickly as well.
When I find myself mad at someone, it helps to examine my feelings and see if the level of anger matches what I think they did wrong.
Most of the time it doesn’t. Usually, I realize I am frustrated with myself.
You have unfinished tasks/goals that are eating away at you
This is a big one for me.
Okay here’s the scenario – you have some big-ticket items on your to-do list that link heavily to your value system and the goals you are trying to achieve. Excellent. Then things happen that stop you from getting them done. Not so excellent!
Suddenly your frustration levels are going through the roof and you start to feel a little cranky.
I remember when I first started working with a coach many moons ago, one of the early exercises I did was to write a list of tasks that were outstanding in my life. Then of course my job was to start working through them.
Unfinished tasks can block us from moving forward.
If you have a lot on the go (as most of us do), chances are you can’t get every task finished all at once. Instead do the one or two tasks that are eating away at you and you will feel much better.
Related post – 16 Reasons You Are Not Achieving Your Goals
You feel disappointed in yourself
When I’m disappointed in myself, I tend to be hard on myself (as I’ve mentioned in recent posts I’m working really hard to kick this nasty behavioral habit. Thankfully I’m getting better and slowly learning to be kinder to myself).
Disappointment in yourself can be particularly bad if someone treated you badly in the past and you give them a second chance only to have them mistreat you again.
When this happens, we can sometimes be madder at ourselves for taking them back than by what happened.
What to do when you are feeling mad at yourself
If you are frustrated or disappointed in yourself about something that’s not happening in your life then the best way to nip this in the bud is to…..you guessed it…. take some sort of action.
We’re not talking about any old action here – it needs to be specific.
It needs to be something that will move you through your frustration.
Think back to one of those big-ticket goals we mentioned earlier. Pick a task relating to your goal and get it completed. Don’t simply start but make sure you finish as well.
Whenever you are feeling mad or angry, have a good look at who you are really mad at.
Is that external issue really bugging you that much or is it coming from inside of you?
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Read Next – 12 Things To Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough