I love getting DailyOm in my e-mail - it's always something that I can relate to, and today's post is no exception.
I spent the majority of my teen years very pissed off. I hated my parents, my life, the world in general. I had a lot of bad things happen to me as a kid and being mad about them seemed much easier than dealing with the hurt and confusion and letting them go. As long as I was mad I could blame someone for the things that I had been through and there seemed to be some sort of imaginary justice in that.
There is an illusion of power in anger. If we hold on to things, grudges against people then we 'control' our relationship with those people and things. We 'punish' them for hurting us until we feel that they've been punished enough and have grovelled sufficiently to be let back into our lives.
The truth is.. the only person you hurt by being angry is you. Anger leads to stress, it's bad for your physical health as well as your mental and emotional health. Not to mention the toll it takes on your spiritual health. You can't very well bask in the peace of God/Buddha/Mohamed etc if you're holding on to being angry at someone. Peace and anger simply cannot coexist.
Another truth is - most of the time we're angry because being mad is easier than being hurt. Being hurt sucks. Being hurt means someone let you down, or you were weak, or not good enough, or they didn't care enough. Being hurt means all sorts of imaginary slights we put on ourselves and others and that can be hard to accept - whereas being mad... being mad just means someone else f'd up and you're justifiably ticked about it. Being hurt gives someone power over you.. being mad gives you the power.
But either way that power is imaginary. It doesn't really exist.
A lot of people think forgiveness is for the person who 'wronged' you... but the truth is forgiveness is for YOU. When someone hurts you - forgiving them is your way of giving yourself permission to let go of that hurt and move on to healing. It is your way of letting go and getting past it.
It took me many years but I finally realized that there really wasn't any room in my life for anger. It served no purpose and benefited me in no way. Now that's not to say I've perfected not getting angry by any means - believe me - my husband is a master at pushing my buttons and flipping my pissed off switches. But I've found that if I just stop for a moment.. take a breath and ask myself - what am I really angry about?? I usually find that it's nothing - an imaginary slight I took upon myself by taking something personal instead of being objective. Now things that used to be quick triggers rarely bother me and when I do get bothered I'm over it in literally minutes instead of taking hours or days (sometimes weeks or years!) to let it go.
So there's my take on anger... now here's DailyOm's ^_^
October 5, 2012
Unblocking the Ally
Sometimes when we feel anger, it is coming from a deep place that demands acknowledgment and expression. At these times, it is important that we find healthy ways to honor our anger, remembering how dangerous it is to repress it. However, anger can also become a habit, our go-to emotion whenever things go wrong. Often this is because, for whatever reason, we feel more comfortable expressing anger than we do other emotions, like sadness. It can also be that getting angry gives us the impression that we’ve done something about our problem. In these cases, our habitual anger is inhibiting both our ability to express our other emotions and to take action in our lives.
If it’s true that anger is functioning this way in your life, the first thing you might want to try is to notice when you get angry. You might begin to see a pattern of some kind. For example, you could notice that it is always your first response or that it comes up a lot in one particular situation. If the pattern doesn’t become clear right away, you could try keeping a journal about when you get angry and see if you can find any underlying meaning. The good thing about keeping a journal is that you can explore your anger more deeply in it—from examining who in your family of origin expressed a lot of anger to how you feel when you encounter anger in others. This kind of awareness can be a formidable agent of transformation.
Anger can be a powerful ally, since it is filled with energy that we can harness and use to create change in the world. It is one of the most cathartic emotions, and it can also be a very effective cleanser of the emotional system. However, when it becomes a habit, it actually loses its power to transform and becomes an obstacle to growth. Identifying the role anger plays in your life and restoring it to its proper function can bring new energy and expansiveness to your emotional life.