“Your sacred mission is grounded in the thing that pisses you off.” ~ Torrie Pattillo
Lightworkers eat things like mission, purpose and calling for breakfast.
We’re out to change the world and these things are our Wheaties. But when I heard this quote, my brain scrambled for a moment. Isn’t our soul’s mission based on what we love, what we’re born for, what we’d do even if we never got paid? How can it have anything to do with anger?
The answer to all of the above, is yes. However, if we add in the passion we feel when we get really pissed off about something, we’ll have the magic ingredient; the thing that has us wishing we could function without sleep or food. The thing that keeps us consistently crazy, inspired, creative and lit up about why we’re here, and the difference we’re making.
Problem is, most of us were taught not to feel angry. In fact we’re taught it’s wrong or bad. In some cases, expressing anger, or just our opinion, meant punishment. Many of us have spent decades learning how to stuff our feelings of anger and be good girls instead; polite, appropriate and quiet. Excuse me while I go scream into my pillow.
I finally realized what pisses me off the most; the way young girls are taught that they’re somehow bad if they express their opinion, especially when they’re angry. “Don’t talk back,” has become this thing, that when I hear it, makes me shrivel into my three-year-old self. I’ve heard my husband utter those words so many times to my daughter I’ve gotten sort of used to it. It was when I tried to intervene one day and he interrupted me with “Don’t undermine me!” that I realized I was conditioned, from a really young age, to think this was okay.
Think about what we teach our kids; to not speak when they are really upset, to stuff their feelings when their feelings are the strongest, to find a way to numb themselves to the pain they feel when they start to believe that being and feeling angry or upset is wrong. We then, for twelve more years, teach them that, no matter how they feel about their teachers or classmates, they must stay quiet, polite and appropriate. We tell them that it’s a matter of respect.
Respect my ass. It’s an adult’s way of exerting control. Period.
It was finally in college when my Public Speaking 101 professor had us do an opinion paper and speak it out loud, that I realized I had been taught twelve years of bullsh*t about who I was and how I could be in the world. I realized what I thought and said did matter, if I could only be brave enough to say it. It would be another decade or more before that happened.
Things clicked at some point, through my pursuit of my soul’s mission, and with the encouragement of a tribe of women who all started nodding their heads and sharing their stories of childhood. This wasn’t just me. It was actually a full two generations (at least) of women who felt this way. And now they’d have to figure out how to heal, rediscover their worth, find their voice and become who they were truly born to be; world changers.
That thing that pisses us off? Take that feeling, that energy, and infuse it into a purpose. Use it as fuel. Let it be the thing that moves us to action, to speak up, to stand up for what matters to us and what matters in the world. Be angry. Please. It’s what will get things done. And when we begin to feel wrong, bad or unworthy, just know that’s our little girl talking. We’re going to have to take her by the hand and let her know she’s safe. We’re going to have to act, even if we’re afraid.
We can do this.
In fact, we must do this. We all must. It’s what’s going to change the atrocities we’re all complaining about. It’s what’s going to help our children function effectively in the world as leaders and not just passive followers.
Healing several generations of oppression might seem like a daunting task, but it’s up to us to be warriors and follow that mission we felt, even as a young girl. It’s our calling to step up and recognize what needs to be healed, do that work, and teach our children to be themselves. To teach them that what pisses them off is exactly the rocket fuel they’ll need to make a difference.
Watch for patterns of shrinking when faced with friends or family that can’t tolerate our passionate opinion. Feel how we let ourselves get quiet so we don’t ruffle feathers. Feel that ache in our chest or our gut when we stuff that down and call it “being a peacemaker.” Feel how we can’t tolerate one more ounce of ache. How we know we’re about to blow, and how that manifests in our back, or neck.
How can we express the feelings without hurting anyone? That’s the most common question I hear, because even though we’re angry, we’re healers, and it’s not about bashing anyone with our passion, even if it’s warranted. Find a therapeutic way to express ourselves. I’ve practiced martial arts for ten years. A mind-body sport is one way to express. Here are a few others:
>>Scream into a pillow (punch and kick it too).
>>Journal the heck out of our feelings, and let it flow…no censors.
>>Talk to a therapist and let them hold a healing space for our emotions.
>>Find a John F. Barnes Myofascial Release practitioner who’s trained in mind-body connection.
>>Write our opinions in the form of blogs, articles or essays.
>>Start talking to people about why we disagree and do that from a place of awareness.
>>Give ourselves permission to be ourselves, even if we’re angry.
There are consequences for not allowing our feelings and emotions to surface and be felt. There are consequences for not following the call of our soul and living our mission and purpose. It’s time to let ourselves be pissed off.
Join me in the comment section below and let me know how you’ve let the thing that pisses you off be part of your mission!
Author: Laura Probert
Photo: Luis Marina/Flickr
Editor: Jean Weiss