The self naturally seeks expression. When it feels held back, it feels frustrated because that is literally what is happening. The core energies of the self are being inhibited or impeded in some way, physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Self is trapped. If this happens with something for just a short while, we can usually cope, especially if it is something rather insignificant. But when it goes on chronically, over a long period of time, and particularly about core aspects of self, the frustration usually turns into resentment and anger (if not clinical depression). Healing comes when we look within and notice which aspects of self are not being expressed. It is our essential responsibility to express ourselves in our life…..not passively with little effect, not aggressively where we overwhelm or harm others, but appropriately and assertively. When we assert ourselves, we speak and live our truth. We say what we have to say, with gentleness, kindness, courtesy and respect. We live authentically, yet we don’t impose our ways on others. Some of us in the world are impeded by others in overt and cruel ways beyond our control. But in our western society, that is usually not the case.
For us, when we feel frustrated and irritated, it is then we are called to take notice of which parts of the self are feeling obstructed. Before it mounts toward anger or aggression. When we wait for anger to overtake us before we make changes, it is much harder to do. Contemplate each area of your life, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Look for ways you are expressing your core self, and ways you are not. If you are already angry about something, then seek clues for how you are letting yourself or others hold you back from living an assertive lifestyle that is congruent with your highest values. Physically – Are you feeding your physical body with the nutrition, rest and activity that brings you physical balance and joy? Are your daily life and vocation aligned with your highest values? How do you spend your time and energy currency…..on what others want for you or on what you want for you?
Emotionally – When you inventory your most common emotions, are they pleasant or painful? If you are regularly tense, frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed, sad, ashamed, fearful, resentful, irritated or angry, ask yourself what needs to be adjusted in your life to bring you back to well-being. Mentally – Observe your thoughts, your self-talk, your mind chatter. Are your thoughts generally constructive, encouraging, and uplifting? Is your focus on what you can do in the present? On what you have done well thus far in life? On how you are progressing toward goals that are important to you, meaningful and purposeful? If not, you are creating your own pain with each counterproductive thought. Spiritually – Observe your inner being, the energies that flow through you if you let them run their course. Do you define yourself strictly by your body, your outer appearance, your material possessions, or your accomplishments? If so, you will never feel good or successful enough. You will always want more. And you will quite frequently have a hard time believing you are loveable. On the other hand, when you learn to identify with more than your personal self, more than your immediate family, more than your own country even, you will feel expansive, pulsing with life, and connected in ways beyond what you have imagined. Each of these aspects of self – the physical, the emotional, the mental, and the spiritual – are meant to be in balance, and to work together in an integrated fashion. If not, say perhaps most of your expressed energy is mental, then your other energy bodies may feel inhibited. In this example, emotion can feel numbed. Physical activity minimized. Spiritual life nonexistent. When each area of self is involved and playing in concert with all of the other areas in a balanced way…..let’s say your spiritual or moral values lead the way, your mind focuses on achieving your spiritual goals, your heart is open and loving, and your behaviors are cooperative and playing nicely with others…..then sustained joy is the inevitable result. In short, too little energy (that is, being passive) in one or more areas of inner life leads to some form of passivism (e.g. boredom, apathy, shyness) in your outer life. Too much energy (causing harm, being aggressive) in one or more areas of your inner life leads to aggression and to relationship problems in your outer life. Imbalance in either direction tends to pendulum swing in the opposite direction. For instance, too quiet for too long can lead to outbursts of yelling (mental aggression). Not expressing emotion can swing into overexuding intense emotion (emotional aggression). Too much fear can take you into too much control (mental aggression) or into fights with others (physical aggression). Balance in your inner life has its way of expressing itself very appropriately and assertively in your outer life. Peace on the inside results in peace on the outside. Love on the inside leads to love in relationship. Inner flexibility and adaptability tends toward outer acceptance of changing circumstances and collaboration with others. So if you feel a great deal of anger in your life, perhaps it is time for some introspection and rebalancing. If you struggle with aggression, seek professional help. Anger is the reaction to feeling inhibited or controlled in your life in some way. Change within, take charge of living the life you were meant to live, learn to express yourself assertively, and notice the difference in all areas of your life.