50 Favorite Words #7 – Livid


Livid. This is a very important word. I know it may seem like somewhat of an unlikely choice with all of the mindful happiness I routinely share my thoughts about. But I think being able to feel and (appropriately) express legitimate anger is another key to fully self-actualized living—being able to feel our feelings, even the ugly ones.

Maybe it is because I am a woman, and women are often discouraged from expressing their anger. Maybe it is because I am a fan of being fully present in as many moments of my life as possible. Maybe it is because there is something inspiring about caring passionately about something. About being so invested or principled or connected that an injustice can resonate deeply. Feeling livid. Having the intense physical reaction that flushes our faces. There is an aliveness to it. There is power in anger that can lead to positive change.

I am not talking about needing anger management kind of anger. I am not talking about being unkind to others in how we express our strong feelings. I am talking about being connected to our feelings and really feeling them. This type of anger can help us recognize and respond to things that are unacceptable in our world. It can help us realize when a pattern in our life isn’t serving us.  It can help us realize when a relationship we are in is not good for us.  Being livid is your body letting you know something is not right. Feeling it and recognizing it are the instrumental first steps to doing something about it.

Being livid can revitalize, mobilize to action, help us understand what matters to us at our core. Maybe it’s a toxic relationship in your life that you recognize you want to end. Maybe it’s a negative self voice that keeps you down that you will no longer tolerate. Maybe it’s a broader injustice and you want to do your part to change it. Your emotional reaction doesn’t have to translate to you expressing your anger at someone. It can instead run through you as fuel to empower you to take the steps you want to take. Steps to change your world or the big world around you.

What matters enough to you that you would be willing to let your blood boil a little? What if you were allowed to feel your anger (go into a wind tunnel and scream)? How would you use this fuel to make changes in your own life?  How would you use it to change the world?

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