A lot has happened in the last couple of years. We’re watching the world go through a huge transition. We must keep shifting and adapting to these changes, and that can trigger our emotions in many ways.
Times like this can make us feel raw and vulnerable. Unresolved past conflicts emerge and make the current emotionally trying times even harder to cope with. New frustrations, limits, and boundaries may open old, unmetabolized feelings of anger.
Anger is one of the most deceiving emotions. It can feel dangerous and destructive if you don’t understand its value. In fact, it is possible to harness the energy of anger and use its messages to ignite your creativity.
Anger is hard to be with. It’s dynamic and full of energy. It requires active participation.
Maybe, when angry, you feel you need to act on it immediately. You might feel pushed to get rid of it. Sometimes, it’s easier to project it on others so they have to deal with it because it can feel so hard to face your own anger. Or, maybe you’d rather lock it deep into your being so you don’t feel it at all.
If you haven’t felt safe when you or someone else around you is angry, anger feels destructive and dangerous. In truth, anger is a healthy emotion. Anger emerges when boundaries are violated and in other experiences of unfairness, mistreatment, and loss.
You can benefit from your anger when you begin to understand what it is trying to tell you. It can show you where you can make changes and help you create a more fulfilling life.
With the awareness that comes with understanding the roots of anger, you can harness its energy and use its messages in order to ignite and enrich your creativity.
How can you use your anger to enhance your creativity?
When you can find comfort in your anger and can stay grounded in its energy and its messages, then you can harness its potential for healing, transformation, and growth.
But, when you have unhealed emotional conflicts or emotional trauma, old unhealed anger gets triggered. When you get caught in stories and feelings from the past, it’s hard to be grounded in this powerful emotion.
When you repress anger or allow it to get out of control, you can’t capture and intentionally use this emotion. Its energy is wasted and it tends to be used in unhealthy ways. Repressed or wildly unleashed anger brings damage and trauma.
With this, an unhealthy cycle can begin. The more you let anger control you and the more you repress or express it in unhealthy ways, the more you get stuck in it. Rather than being a creative asset, anger becomes a liability.
You can do your “emotional work” so you can be connected, present, and grounded in your anger in order to enhance your creativity.
When you heal the past conflicts or trauma that are at the root of your anger, you can be with the emotion of anger in a pure, authentic way. Without fighting it. Without resting it. Without being threatened by it. Without denying it. You can just ride the waves of anger.
You can observe it. Be curious about it. You can give anger the space to show you what lies underneath. You can see its messages and recognize the truths that need to be seen.
You can navigate anger’s messages with meaning, purpose, and intention. You can respond from a place of connection and presence and your anger can help bring forth stories of transformation and renewal.
Being connected, present, and grounded in your anger is empowering. On the other side of healing anger from the past, you can trust that the anger you experience in the present will be used in the service of healing, shifting, and transformation. It will not be used to destroy or create division.
Anger is part of your emotional repertoire, just like joy, love, and excitement. Just like any other emotion, it will come and go. Anger is not permanent. It’s fluid. But what can be permanent is the impact of your actions. Knowing this you can use anger to create and bring more beauty in the world, not to damage.
Think of the artists who have transformed feelings of anger into a masterpiece. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” the Beatles’s “Imagine,” Amanda Gorman’s poem “We Rise,” J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, paintings by Van Gogh, John Lithgow, and Jim Carrey… I’m sure you can name many artists that have probably connected with their anger’s energy and messages and turned into timeless and powerful art.
How can you help yourself use your anger to enhance your creativity?
First stop acting up or trying to deny it. Give your anger some space. Begin by letting it sit with you without trying to get rid of it, fix it, reorder it, or do anything about it. As you give your anger the space to be with you, maybe then you can start to be curious about it. As you start to wonder about it, you may find some glimmer of comfort in your anger. Understanding has a way of making that possible. And, as your comfort in your anger expands, you can start to be more present and connected and grounded in this complex but beautiful emotion.
When you can stand at the intersection of discomfort, comfort, and understanding, and then you add a spark of wonder and a touch of presence, you can catch a glimpse of anger’s gift: the messages it is trying to convey.
Anger’s messages are the stories that need to be told. Stories that need healing. Stories that need to be asserted. Stories that need an advocate. Stories that just need to be expressed for the sake of just being seen. Anger helps to reveal the stories that can bring growth and transformation.
All these stories are the fuel for your creativity. Let them be told, healed, and transformed through your creativity. As your creativity expands, your comfort level with your anger will grow as well. In turn, this will expand your creativity further. As this healthy cycle continues, you can become the master of using your anger in the service of creating and bringing beauty into the world.
It can be very difficult to come into a new relationship with anger on your own. A trusted professional can help hold your experience and guide your process so that you are able to safely resolve past emotional wounds and move forward into a bright, productive creative future.
My California-based psychotherapy practice specializes in the unique needs of artists and creatives. To learn more about how counseling can help you resolve your struggles with anger and transform your relationship with creativity, please contact me to set up a free initial consultation.
Contact me to set up a free 15-20 minute consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you further your career and your personal life.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creatives face and shift emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creative blocks, and addictions – to be and live their own best version. You can read more about Therapy for Creatives and Performers here.