At the end of one of my Yoga and Talk Therapy Workshops for Cancer Survivors, Lydia spoke up in a worried voice:
“I am now realizing how angry I am. But I have a question: Where do I put it?!”
I loved her question because it contains two very important insights.
First, Lydia recognized the anger she has been holding in her body, mind, and heart. She is suffering with pain and feels irritable as she recovers from surgery, yet holds herself to impossibly high expectations to be gracious to others in every moment.
She is self critical about how long the healing is taking and about needing assistance from her family. She is angry about the diagnosis and how it has affected many areas of her life.
Second, she’s ready to work with her anger. While it’s not so easy as finding a trash bin, working with your anger is not as scary as it can seem. Turning your attention towards your anger instead of repressing it can be the beginning of your healing.
Repressed anger often makes you feel numb, so it’s hard to enjoy the good moments. Repressed anger also comes out sideways and out of proportion, triggered by seemingly meaningless events or interactions.
Better to own your anger, find safe places to feel and express it so you can get your vitality back!