The Importance of Anger and Why It's Necessary for Self-Growth
I’ve been reluctant to share this post for a while now, mostly because a lot of shame and embarrassment is tied to it. I’ve been mulling back and forth on how personal I should make my posts, worried I might come off as too emotional or too honest. However, I look back at my previous work and question why I have so many drafted posts and so little published posts.
It comes down to one reason: I’m holding myself back, more specifically, in fear I won’t look like the person I wish I looked like to others.
Distinguished American sociologist Charles Cooley put it perfectly when he said, “I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am.” Too often we force ourselves into this box, hoping it will help get us from point A to point B. But often than not, it shrinks us into these hollow yet perfectly wrapped up packages for everyone else to open up.
Since graduating college last June, I was very fortunate enough to travel. I learned so many invaluable things about myself, my life, and of others. And I felt so blessed to be able to bring those lessons back home just before Christmas.
But then “real life” showed up, telling me that those past few months aren’t going to matter to employers and job recruiters, that those “invaluable” pretty lessons aren’t going to fare off in an interview when asked about the huge gap of unemployment since graduation. My freelance work as a writer and photographer won’t translate well, and will definitely not be enough to substitute the “full-time work experience.”
Yet I move forward, and I apply, put my best foot forward, wear the freshly ironed expensive business suit, get rejected (or don’t hear back), and continue again.
Towards the end of last year, I got to the final stage of the interview process for this company I was stoked for. The requirements were: someone with a creative eye (check), can communicate clearly (check), someone who lives and breathes content (check), someone who isn’t afraid of connecting with others (check check check).
I had gotten so far so soon into the job application process that I genuinely believed I already had it. The turnaround time after seeing my work was only an hour even though I was told I would hear back in maybe 1-2 weeks. The last stage of the application process was the long panel interview. It started off so well; we joked and laughed, and I was even able to talk about my presentation and my process with it. But somewhere down the middle of it, things started to feel off and there were questions I couldn’t answer. I hadn’t prepared for that. I hadn’t prepared for the feeling that came along with not being able to bounce back after presenting myself as this bubbly perfect character who could do the job and be the person they want.
As an interviewee and a potential employee, I wanted to be what they wanted me to be.
I remember being told that if hired, I would get a bonus, you know, like, “how they have carrots dangle on a string to get the donkey to keep moving.” Behind my enthusiastic and cheery smile, I had to pause and ask myself, “was that all I was?” Just another ass to do the groundwork?
No, stop. I should be grateful I am here. I won’t get another opportunity like this and they were impressed with my work. I can’t be so negative about a small comment. But it stuck with me the whole interview and left me distracted. Frankly, towards the end, I ended up doing so poorly, the best I could do was give that cheery smile and polished responses to make sure at least they like me. They need to like me. I practiced for this. I studied everything there is to know about the company and workers. I won’t get another chance.
Time goes by, I apply and interview at other places, go through the sequences of the job application process and continue on. Soon after, I find the position for that initial company has been filled. Just like every other company that has directly or indirectly rejected me, this feeling is normal. However, the insecurity and anger will still manifest. Yet, I’m the only one to blame. I’m the only one to hold myself accountable.
For the last few months, I was angry at myself for not being enough. I was insecure of the idea of my degree going stale, of my gap growing longer, and of my abilities being lack of such rather than enough. The anxiety that goes along with this notion of not knowing what comes next or who will accept you lingers every day. I pointed the finger at myself, angry I wasted time traveling and that I wasted the last 4 years of college with an English degree when I could have just studied something more technical, more secure. I was angry I didn’t do more, that I didn’t push harder, even if some circumstances were beyond my control.
The negative mindset I created only fed my insecurities more. I was hungry to point out every flaw I had and compared myself to every person who was chosen instead of me. Of course it wasn’t healthy, but it soon became an addiction to reject myself first before allowing anyone else to reject me.
While I still took photos for clients, I stopped writing altogether, even for myself. The thing is, the reason I even write is to empower and connect with others. However, that requires digging deep within myself, excavating the realms of my mind and feelings that I did not or could not face.
It’s hard to face things that matter when you’re so caught up being angry in the first place.
It wasn’t until I stumble across this post on Linkedin where this professional I admire got laid off that I realized that sometimes things truly aren’t always in our favor. That, frankly…sh*t happens, but you need to move forward anyway.
I had to force myself back to my reasons and sit down and write, even when I didn’t want to, even when it felt like all the energy in the world could not compel me to. I travelled because I would not have the opportunity to go to so many places for a long period of time once I enter something full time, I would not have learned, seen, or experienced all the wonderful things this world has to offer if I had not left home and the places I once felt comfortable. I studied English because deep in my heart I wouldn’t belong anywhere else, that that feeling of hollowness would haunt me if I wasn’t chasing after an art that always felt like home.
Anger turned into healing. Instead of hating my flaws, I accepted them for what they were and worked further towards strengthening them. I haven’t spoken outwardly about meditation (yet), but it’s helped me in insurmountable ways towards self-reflection and growth. Allowing myself to sit with the anger, process it, and then let it go, taught me how each day is a new day, and opportunities only exist if we allow them to.
While I am in still in the middle of the job search, it’s been a lot easier. I cope better and I do small things each day to become a better me, not someone who I think you think I should be.
Have you gone through unemployment insecurity? Are you currently going through it? Feel free to share in the comments or message me personally. I would love to connect or even share helpful resources on coping, self-growth, and anything related.