Last week, I started writing a list of things that are not serving me right now and decided to make a plan to chip away at them. It wasn’t a long list, but it was a good exercise. You should try it. Three of the big “non servers” that came up for me are anger, resentment and guilt. So here’s what I’m thinking…
Anger is a necessary and important emotion. It can be powerful when used in a productive way and it can motivate us to take action or stand up for something we believe in. The trick is channeling that energy in a healthy way. Sometimes, I sit on my anger and let it percolate until it takes a toll on my physical and emotional health. Recently, I started working to approach things that make me angry with curiosity, an open heart and open mind. When I was in my early 20s, a therapist observed that I might have a hard time accepting people who see the world differently than I do. It was true. I’m finding when I reach out to those who have different perspectives, if I approach them with genuine respect and curiosity, we can usually find some common ground. Not always, but more often than not. It helps diffuse my anger and makes me think about more productive ways of taking action vs. stewing over hard feelings. I still have a lot of work to do but it’s been a good start.
Here’s an article that I appreciate:
PsychCentral: How to Channel Your Anger into Productive Action
Like most of us, I have family baggage and the resentment I feel about it doesn’t serve me well. My own choices and behaviors have led me to play the perpetual — and co-dependent — role of caretaker. That’s not uncommon for an only daughter and child of addiction and mental illness. I’m still struggling with how to chip away at this. I’m starting by trying to accept people for who they are (and were when it comes to my mom), especially when they don’t think like me. Not trying to change them or feel responsible for their happiness is challenging for me. Truth is, maybe I am who I am because of them at some level. Maybe that deserves gratitude? I’m open to ideas if you’re reading this and willing to share!
Here’s an interesting article to consider:
Wanderlust: 4 Ways to Let Go of Resentment
I hold on to a lot of guilt and it’s exhausting. I don’t so much feel guilty about things I’ve done, it’s more about the way I feel (see anger and resentment above) and the things I haven’t done. I just read this article about guilt and thought you might be interested too:
Mind Tools — Dealing With Guilt, Gaining Positive Outcomes From Negative Emotions
Today is my 54th birthday and my heart is full of hope and gratitude. My hope is centered around healing and change as we wrap up this incredibly challenging and divisive year. My gratitude is for the truly wonderful people in my life, my family, friends and colleagues.
Thank you for reading and I welcome your ideas and comments (in fact, I would LOVE to hear them). Happy holidays and take good care of yourselves.
Linda Quon is Vice President and Director of Communication at Quon Design and Communication. Linda is working to promote everyday mental health awareness in partnership with Deschutes County Health Services and Central Oregon Health Council — which includes providers and health advocates from Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes Counties. Linda was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Central Oregon with her husband and two children in 2005. Her mother lived with Schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder and her oldest brother also experienced bi-polar disorder. With support from family, friends, therapists and primary care providers, Linda has been navigating the world of mental illness most of her life — including her own struggles with mild anxiety and depression. Linda is proud to work as an advocate for mental health and a blogger for Mind Your Mind Central Oregon.