Life Journal Workshop – A Place to Get Mad
Welcome to the life journal workshop. Last week we talked about creating a gratitude tree, which is a lovely idea and makes us feel warm inside. It’s an important part of any daily journal practice to focus on all of the wonderful things that are happening in our lives. Our journal can be a great place to celebrate.
Are you afraid of your anger?
But sometimes, we don’t feel grateful. We feel mad, angry, frustrated, even furious at times. I don’t know about you, but I was never allowed to express anger growing up. My stepdad would completely shut me down. It was never okay to shout or even just say, “I am really angry.” It took years of therapy and personal development to just be okay with expressing anger and it’s still not easy. I tend to stuff it down until I want to explode and I end up snapping at my husband or kids when it’s really not about them.
Sometimes we get mad about stupid things, like when the dishes don’t get done and the kids leave wet towels lying on the floor. Sometimes we get mad because someone says something mean to us or someone we love. Sometimes our mothers or in-laws can really push our buttons and we feel an old rage wanting to be released. The holidays are coming. Are you already feeling the stress of having your mother-in-law to stay or going to visit relatives you don’t really like?
Your Journal is a Safe Place to Get Mad
It’s never okay to dump our anger onto another person verbally or physically. That doesn’t mean that we can’t deeply feel and express those feelings in a safe place. Your life journal is that safe place to write the truth of what you are experiencing in the moment.
As I was working on a visual sample for this lesson, I found all of this anger arising that I didn’t even know was inside of me. I just wanted to scream out loud. Instead, I screamed on the page. First by writing as fast and furiously as I could, then by adding color and bold words to the page. This is not a pretty page that I would want to share on Pinterest or show my friends. This is my space, my safe place to dump feelings and empty myself of anger.
Once we release the physical emotions underneath the anger, we can address a situation with calm. Why did those wet towels on the bathroom floor push you over the top today and what do you want to do about it? Yelling at your kids will not make them pick up the towels, it will only make them feel afraid of you or react to your anger and yell back. Not fun for anyone! This is a simple example but how many times do you explode over something small? My answer is way too many.
When I make regular time to really express what I am feeling on the pages of my journal, I can return to my family feeling whole and more peaceful. This is what I love about journaling – it’s like a prayer, a conversation with God, your best friend or your dog: a safe place to creatively express what is happening inside of you.
Are you ready to get mad? Life journal instructions:
1. Start by writing I am mad about… or I am mad at… and just allow whatever comes. Keep writing until there is nothing left to say. I wrote in two different directions on my paper to make it unreadable. I don’t even want to go back and read it later. It’s a great disguise and it feels good to bury the words under layers.
Often we can write through our anger to a place of peace or even to a resolution for a problem we are mad about. You have to be willing to write until you feel empty of the anger.
2. Next, grab some crayons or markers. I used oil pastels because I love the creaminess and I could press hard without having them break in half like crayons. Ask yourself, what color is my anger? Mine was the color of fire – oranges, yellows and reds.
3. On top of the drawing, write what made looks and feels like. William Faulkner’s book Sound and Fury kept coming to mind, I don’t know why.
4. Feel free to destroy the page, burn it in a fireplace or tear it to tiny bits and throw it away. This can bring great closure to releasing the anger and letting it go.
I promise that if you give yourself permission to do this on a regular basis, you will go through your days with more ease and grace. Stuffing your anger will make you sick or it will turn you into a walking time bomb ready to explode all over others. Learning to express our anger is a healthy part of our personal development. Give it a try!
And if you are feeling stressed out about the upcoming holidays, check out this free teleseminar series that I am doing. Registration includes access to our first two calls about managing holiday expectations and setting boundaries. Make this a holiday to remember by being stress free!