As a black woman, I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid the angry and mad black woman stereotype. Due to that stereotype I’ve repressed the way I’ve felt, afraid that It would come off wrong to others, causing me to lose some sense of myself along the way. Coming into this world we seem to be automatically stamped with the angry black woman labels. The older you get the more you begin to notice the way people look at you, the change in body language and how some are even hesitant to speak to you. We are a threat to almost everyone we come across; in the office, at the mall and sometimes even in our own home, without being an actual threat.
To avoid proving other’s right, we put on a fake smile and do our best to control our temper. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve held in so much that eventually there’s no where else for us to store away the anger and pain. You know what comes next? An explosion and those don’t end well for anyone in the situation including yourself.
Throughout my life I’ve always been told I look mean or people would assume I was stuck up and didn’t like anyone, which is far from the case. For the most part I’ve always been an observer and with that comes a blank face, that makes me come off as a bitch, but in some cases I’m really just angry as hell and as a woman, a black one at that, I have a hell of a lot to me mad about. I’m constantly being judged, disrespected, humiliated, belittled and ignored, yet, I hold every ounce of anger I have inside and when I let it out all at once, I tend to have no remorse; I say things I can’t take back, I lash out on people I shouldn’t and I feel a fire in me that I’m sometime’s afraid of. This is why we should normalize being angry, but in a healthy and respectful way.
WHY BEING ANGRY IS OKAY
One thing we must all remember is that anger and being aggressive is not the same thing. Anger is an emotion we all have but can control, while aggressiveness is a learned behavior that can be extremely destructive. Surprisingly, being angry is healthy for the following reasons:
- Anger teaches us something we didn’t know we needed to learn. It sends us a signal that something isn’t quite right. When vital information like this is ignored the fire ignites.
- Anger can create change, something our parents, their parents and great grandparents know all too well. Anger can be used to great boundaries or make positive changes in your community by volunteering, protesting or donating. Instead of letting anger make you self-destruct, use that energy to channel it into something positive and constructive.
- Anger can be used as a layer of protection until you are able to heal from whatever has upset you. It gives you time to think about what you will and won’t accept from life/people in it.
- No matter what, our anger will eventual rear itself at some point so you should just deal with it in the moment you feel it.
HOW WE CAN DEAL WITH THE EMOTION
Although anger is vital to helping us all live if it isn’t managed correctly it can cause us all to make rash decisions that can have negative outcomes, whether those outcomes be physical, verbal or regretful thoughts. In order to deal with your anger you must first recognize the feeling and then you can go from there with these helpful tips:
- Pause for a minute. Take a minute to calm yourself before reacting.
- Identify your triggers in order to prepare yourself for situations.
- acknowledge what you are feeling and understand that it’s okay.
- Instead of reacting with anger (yelling, blaming, etc) respond like an adult should.
- Have compassion not just for yourself, but others. Take the time to understand that other people also have triggers and don’t always know how to react to those in the appropriate way,
- Don’t hold grudges
- My go to as always, exercise; kickboxing always helps me when I’m feeling upset.
- Practice meditation or other relaxation techniques.
And if it comes down to it, seek professional help if managing your anger has become to much to handle on your own.