For some people anger comes easily, but for some of us it lays low beneath the surface. This is especially true for many women who have learned early in life to be good little girls, you know, sugar and spice and all that.

But being good and “nice” has its limitations. Just as sugar is not good for you if eaten in excess, repressing anger has a cost. Some of those can be depression, excessive weepiness and sadness, perfectionism, and/or low self-esteem.

People who can’t feel their anger tend to get caught up in taking care of people, putting others’ needs first, being passive in life and in their relationships, and often hating themselves. (Perversely, it’s okay to turn their anger on themselves but no one else.)

Often they’ve been told they were bad when they expressed anger early on and were shamed into submission. Ironically, the parent doing this was usually expressing her or his anger at the time. Listen to the tone of voice of your inner critic and you might get a sense of the kind of energy that was directed at you growing up.

There’s a lot of energy bound up in that critical inner voice as there is in your anger. That’s your vitality in hiding. When you harness and direct that energy it can help you set boundaries, say “no,” stand up for and assert yourself, and generally accomplish your life goals.

You may need to move through the tears first before you can get underneath to the anger. It takes persistence as it often lies deep below as a vast reservoir of energy. Clues to its existence may show up as teeth grinding at night or anxious and depressive thoughts during the day.

Bringing your anger out into the open where it can be a resource does carry some risks. You might find yourself acting and feeling more powerful in your life, which will attract attention. Your life will change.

Are you ready?