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One of the common responses which costs us precious energy is anger.  Often people’s first response to the word is to think of anger going outward at others or external conflict.

In my experience as a coach, I often find anger for many people is the silent experience of internal conflict.  And, sometimes the two go hand in hand.

We’ve all had those moments where we lashed out at someone for little or no reason.  If we reflect back, with perspective we see that internal upset was really the source of our frustration and the instigating factor, not someone failing to pick up their dinner plate.

My work has given me the opportunity to really delve into this core emotion and examine it closely.  Recently, I noticed that when I ask the question, what is beneath the anger the answer that comes back is fear.  For cancer survivors and caregivers, there can be some obvious and significant sources of fear.

People can become conflicted with themselves and be in a critical internal dialogue such as:

  • I’m not smart enough
  • I’m not good enough
  • I was so stupid to do that
  • I’m an idiot
  • How could I fall for that again
  • I never get it right

Dig down a layer or two and you’ll find fears such as:

  • failure
  • not being liked/loved
  • being alone
  • not being special
  • not becoming all they know they can be
  • being laughed at
  • of loss

When we are living in fear we can end up alienating others in our outer life and creating a very unhealthy internal experience of our inner existence.  But it can be easier to stay stuck in this pattern than to dig deep and do what’s need to work through the fears.

There is so much peace, ease, joy, connection and success on the other side of fear.  We are kinder to ourselves and to others. It is a more healing experience to be able to move to this place and frees up energy better invested in your wellness journey.

Change begins first with awareness.  Check in with yourself the next time you notice that feeling of anger or conflict and just ask…what is behind the mask of anger?

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