Some people say anger and frustration are secondary emotions, and argue that they are not emotions on their own. I used to believe them.
Anger is sometimes an emotion that needs feeling and expressing, even if it is wildly unpleasant. You can’t will it away, and years of suppressing it often leads people to have outbursts, chronic stress from holding in their emotions, or picking up bad habits to numb their feelings.
I tried to ignore my frustration for years. It didn’t work. In fact, I tried enough vices to distract me from myself that I’d all my fingers and toes to count them. None of them worked. I had a rage bubbling inside me. As a woman, even writing that is a little scary.
“Oh no!” My brain says,
“You broke the code! Women aren’t supposed to be angry. Women are supposed to be nice, sugar and spice, and we can be emotional, sure, but angry is off-limits. BAD!”
I believed that girls should never be angry, that anger wasn’t a real emotion, and I felt ashamed for having it.
But sometimes anger is justified. Sometimes anger is an appropriate response to injustice, crossed boundaries, or a real or perceived threat to our safety, peace of mind, or security. Sometimes we get angry. Women, men, and everyone in between. We all feel it. And it does feel shameful, but it’s just another color in the rainbow of emotions we all get to experience.
You don’t have to be ashamed for feeling frustrated or angry. Women, especially, are made to believe that aggression or anger are unladylike, and so we may act out in other ways, or we wake up and we’re 40, full of rage, and no longer give a fuck and so whoever is in our path better duck and cover. I’ve seen it.
This world is sometimes unjust. People are sometimes fools. No one said otherwise, so you have to learn to deal with it as we aim to educate and make radical change.
So, what do you do when life is frustrating? Down a bottle of wine? Meditate until you levitate? Take up kickboxing? Scream at the neighbors? Send a rude text? Flip off anyone who looks at you the wrong way?
Here are Three Things You Can Do When Life is Frustrating
Sometimes you just have to let some “fucks” fly. If expressing yourself verbally is therapeutic, let it out. Maybe you’re a yeller, or need physical release. You can punch your pillow (or buy a punching bag) or yell in your car. You can go for a run or to the gym (anger has been better for my fitness goals than any pre-workout I’ve tried.) Try to channel your feelings.
Phone a Friend
If you can set up a friend date or phone call, I recommend it. I always suggest you ask the people you’re calling if you can vent first, since you don’t want to burden them with by emotional dumping if they’re not ready for it.
It’s helpful, though, to release any shame, and to get a second opinion, to talk to someone you trust about what’s going on. Sometimes it’s just healing to vent, and to be validated, or to talk it out. It often helps gain some perspective, too, to see if this is really about the incident in question, or if this is really about something bigger.
Talking to our nearest and dearests will help us process what we’re going through so that A) we don’t continue to stew in our feelings B) we can get some clarity around why we’re feeling this way and C) we can figure out what to do about it.
Remember That It’s Just Life, and It’s Perfectly Normal
Remember nothing in life is ever perfect. There’s always something that’s going to be a little off. Remember to appreciate everything going right, remember to count your blessings. Remember that whoever is pissing you off is probably not someone you’d want to swap places with. Remember that feeling frustrated is just part of the deal from time to time, and it will pass.