I’m not an angry person. I do get angry but then I almost immediately get sad. For me, anger involves blame and animosity but (thanks to my Psychology degree) I spend most of my life striving to understand and empathise with people. Add to this my fear of causing anyone to feel anything even remotely unpleasant (no matter how much they deserve it) and instead of getting mad, I end up sad. And sadness, it turns out, is not a great motivator.
Thanks to some coaching from my amazing manager at work, I’m learning to become more assertive. Backing down has been my defence strategy my whole life, and I use it both as a way to avoid the unpleasantness of conflict and to help the other person save face. It’s what she calls a “You’re OK, I’m not OK” pattern of behaviour. In other words, the way I behave in many of my interactions is to make sure the other person is OK before myself, to the detriment of myself, even.
So this time, round about the point I usually admit defeat and dissolve into tears, I've vowed not to get sad but to stay angry for as long as I need to. Anger is a valid emotion and one that I now realise is damaging for me to suppress. And in allowing myself to be angry, an interesting thing has happened.
It feels good.
It makes me want to write a kick-ass novel.
Anger, it turns out, is a great motivator.
Do you use your emotions to fuel your work? How? Or do they get in the way of your creative process? What strategies do you use to get over those hurdles? Comment away!