Anger is one of the emotions that I have found most difficult to deal with in the past. I grew up in a house where anger was handled in ways that I found very frightening, leading me to become very afraid of conflict. This meant that I made a decision fairly early on in life that anger was a "bad" emotion that I should suppress at all costs. I became very ashamed of anybody knowing when I was angry.
I ended up internalising a lot of rage and unhappiness. I just didn't know how to let anger go and how to get it out of my system. It wasn't until the last few years that I even realised just how angry I was deep down.
I now know that anger is not "bad" emotion; it's just a signal that our needs aren't getting met. Anger provides energy for us to act assertively in situations where people are treating us in ways we don't like. If we've learned to be passive in the face of our anger, that energy gets trapped in our nervous system.
Because I have many years of internalising my anger, the situations where I would have liked to act assertively have long passed. Yet I'm still carrying that anger in my nervous system.
So the question becomes: How to let it go?
Eight weeks ago I finally got around to taking swimming lessons. It's something that I had been planning to do ever since moving to live near the beach 18 months ago. There are a number of reasons for this: firstly, I don't feel safe in the ocean when I'm out of my depth. Deep down I know that I'm not a confident swimmer and whenever I'm in deep water my body responds with a lot of anxiety. I figured that if I knew I could swim confidently I wouldn't get so anxious about not being able to touch the bottom.I go body boarding a lot and I feel relatively safe with the board strapped to my arm. But I get caught in rips all the time and I know that if the strap was to break or I lost the board somehow, I'd be in real trouble.
Plus I think swimming is a great exercise for overcoming deep-seated anxiety. The full immersion in the water gives gentle stimulation to our nervous system, and it's also a relatively low impact exercise. So long as you don't drown, that is.
Swimming: How hard can it be?
The arm movement involved in swimming could also be particularly beneficial. We generally use our arms to move things in our environment: to take action; and I believe that taking action is the antidote to the anxiety that we feel when we think was are powerless.
I also suspect that the migraine headaches I sometimes get are related to muscle tension in the back of my neck and shoulders. Getting some motion on my shoulders and neck should help release that tension and give me the feeling that I'm moving forward under my own power.
I get my fair share of hate mail on the Internet, which I find unpleasant but not entirely surprising. Many people aren't good at expressing their anger cleanly, and some of them choose to channel it into hate mail directed at me.
Being on the receiving end of somebody else's hostility can be stressful, so it's important to be assertive with these people to stop their stress from entering our emotional boundary.
Use assertiveness to stop other people's anger entering your emotional boundary.
He's an example from a few weeks ago: I got an email from a female ex-friend who I initially met through a blog I run, which began:
Here is yet another confidence building tip fresh from my backyard. And today I want to talk to you about changing your appearance because if there's one thing that makes a big difference to our confidence it's making a big change in our appearance and then going out in the world and experiencing what happens when we do that and how other people respond to us.
So there are two events that I want to recommend that you get involved in which help raise money for charity and change your appearance at the same time which means you get to feel good about yourself for two reasons: firstly, you'll be helping other people; and, secondly, you'll be building your confidence.
It's a Seinfeld classic. Just gotta share it today:
I've been watching a lot of movies lately on the theme of "The Hero's Journey" that every man must take in order to grow from being a boy into being a man. I've been particularly drawn to movies that talk about hope and masculine empowerment, such as The Shawshank Redemption which is currently rated number one on the IMDB list of the top 250 movies.
Obviously the reason why this particular movie is so highly rated is that it strikes a chord deep in the soul of everyone who watches it. I've seen it several times before, but this time it's struck some nerves with me that hadn't quite been hit before.
Wisdom from The Shawshank Redemption
Want to help other men suffering from prostate cancer and depression, while also boosting your own self-confidence all at the same time?
One of the simplest ways to overcome self-consciousness and boost your self-confidence is by changing your appearance... like growing a moustache if you don't normally have one. And Movember is the perfect opportunity.
You'll be helping yourself and other men all at the same time. Close to 3,300 ...men die of prostate cancer in Australia each year and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime. Movember is about raising funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer and depression.
By joining in Movember, you get to feel doubly good!
So participate in Movember this November. Get your friends and family to sponsor you online, and help raise funds to support men suffering from prostate cancer and depression.
I literally just got this email, unsolicited, from a recent purchaser of The Confident Man Program:
Subject: Thank you - this stuff is gold
I bought your program just earlier this week and my results have been amazing in the only four days I've used it. My confidence is booming and I can't wait to see where I'll be in the time I've gone through it all. Thanks for such a simple and straightforward approach that is so practical. You've done a great thing here and I wish you the best going forward.
Made my day. It doesn't get much better than that!