Friday, December 3, 2021

Kindling for a Pile of Anger

Ask the Life Coach

Dear Coach,  

With all that is happening in our world, I’m feeling angry. I’m normally not an angry person so this is an unusual feeling for me.  

In addition to all of the “out there” issues, I’m having political disagreements with some friends and I’ve experienced hurtful remarks from some of my loved ones. There is a pile of kindling building up and I don’t want it to explode. Any suggestions on how to handle this pent-up anger?  




Dear Angry, 

You’re not alone. I believe it’s safe to say most everyone’s kindling piles are at an all-time high right now. As your pile grows higher, it takes less and less for it to ignite into a huge conflagration. The match can be as simple as someone making a rude or crude comment, a stupid post on social media, or a person cutting you off in traffic. The blast can leave relationships in tatters and shatter your sense of peace.  

You’ve taken the first step which is to own your anger and admit to having angry feelings. Here are a few other tips: 

  1. Write down everything that is on your kindling pile. Name what is making you angry, who is making you angry, disturbing circumstances that are out of your control, things that have been done to you, things you have done to others that have made you angry at yourself. Be specific.
  2. Now, set the pile of kindling aside. Switch gears and take a moment to recall when you recently reached out to others or they reached out to you in a positive and loving way. Maybe you left cookies at the door of a neighbor, made calls to promote a cause, sent a text to a lonely friend. Perhaps someone helped you with a computer issue, sent you a “just because” card, or called you unexpectedly to see how you’re doing. Remind yourself how you felt in these moments. 
  3. If this exercise brought you to a more peace-filled place, go back to your kindling list and look at it with less emotion. Is there any action you can take this week that will mitigate something on the list? Perhaps writing a letter to your Congressman, de-friending someone who is posting lies, or having a heart-to-heart with a loved one. Make a plan to take action this week on at least one issue. 
  4. Take what is left on the pile and spread it out on an imaginary field of love. This isn’t ignoring what is bad and wrong, it’s just recognizing that lasting change comes through love—love for each other, our country, and our world.  

Writing this helped me re-frame and calm my angry feelings. I hope it helped you also. Peace, Sister! 

Mershon Niesner is a Certified Life Coach and author of “Mom’s Gone, Now What? Ten Steps to Help Daughters Move Forward After Mother Loss” which is now available on Amazon and from other booksellers. For more information visit Email your coaching questions to Your identity will be kept strictly confidential.


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