You know that feeling . . . you’re JUST SO MAD! And it doesn’t make sense? Or when you’re so much more angry than anyone else in the same situation? That’s irrational fury. And knowing the “why” behind your irrational fury can help you discover important things about yourself.

Knowing the “why” behind your irrational fury can help you discover important things about yourself. Click To Tweet

If something makes you irrationally furious, chances are very good that whatever it is runs counter to your principles — what you stand for. Think about it. If you didn’t care so deeply about whatever it is, it couldn’t possibly make you so crazy!

For example, I hate being stopped in bad traffic. No. I mean, I HATE it, and it makes me ANGRY. Seriously. Just thinking about it makes my heart race. I’m the kind of person who would rather drive miles out of my way and keep moving than do that whole stop-and-go thing on the freeway. 

When I thought about my irrational fury about being stuck in traffic as it relates to my principles, it made a lot more sense — one of the things I stand for is progress, and I’m all about advancing, moving forward, and making headway. And getting stuck (in traffic, or in other ways) is the opposite of what I really care about. Good to know, right? And honestly, traffic bugs me a lot less knowing why I’m reacting all out of proportion to it.

Here are some additional examples:

  • A close friend has integrity as one of his top principles. He goes pretty nuts if anyone questions his honesty (although it hardly ever happens, because he just radiates truthfulness!).
  • One of my clients has belonging as a key principle, and she has an outsized reaction when she or someone she cares about is excluded from something important.
  • Another client highly values teamwork, and it drives him crazy when one of his team members doesn’t fully participate in team projects.

So, the next time you catch yourself having an outsized reaction to something, take a step back, and get curious. What principle is getting dishonored? Which of your deeply held beliefs is getting trampled? 

Once you figure that out, it’s easier to decide what to do about it. Sometimes, it’s as small as taking a different route home; sometimes, it’s as big as changing your career path.

What makes you irrationally furious? And what does that tell you about what you stand for? Let us know in the comments below!