I remember after my divorce carrying around the weight of anger every single day. I was angry at my ex for not being the person I wanted. I was angry at the universe for putting yet another struggle in my way. I was angry at the loss of a dream. I was angry at myself for not being able to make it work. I was just plain and simple angry.
The anger started to take its toll. I felt physically impacted. A tightness in my chest. My head was always pounding. I needed to make a conscious effort to take deep breaths as my breathing had become so laboured.
The relationships I did have in my life suffered. I snapped at well meaning loved ones all the time. I came to learn, that the year after my divorce was a year of my loved ones walking on egg shells – afraid I was going to blow. I didn’t recognize myself. I had never been an “angry person”. In fact, I prided myself on being able to forgive easily and put almost anything in to perspective. However, my divorce brought out this other hidden angry place inside of me.
It never dawned on me for so very long that I was punishing myself, and no one else, with this anger. For months of feeling unwell and seeing the nervous looks of my loved ones, I kept telling myself that the anger was fueling my ability to move forward. That the angrier I stayed, the less sad I would feel. In my logical thinking, if I was angry at my ex than I couldn’t at the same time be sad about the loss.
As I thought the anger was saving me from sadness, I held onto it fiercely, almost proud of this new side of myself. The anger made me feel strong – because after all if wasn’t depression (in my flawed thinking). I convinced myself it was keeping me going. Little did I know, at the time, it was preventing me from truly healing. I didn’t know at the time, I was delaying what was rightly mine – a heart full of forgiveness and healing.
My turning point finally came months later when a friend and I were discussing a fight she had with her mother.
You are the person that can set you free.
Anger can rise out of nowhere. And that’s ok. Sometimes it’s a relief to feel anything instead of numb. Society judges anger as bad, and peace as good. But you don’t need to. Feel the anger and thank it for how it’s going to motivate and inspire you to act. Painful feelings can be a gift. They drive you to do the work because, at some point, you get tired of feeling the pain and are inspired to make a change. It isn’t easy to deal with difficult emotions, but it is so worth it. You must feel the pain to heal it. Let yourself be vulnerable and treat yourself compassionately, accepting all that comes up in you. You have every right to the feelings you experience. The key to when and how you move forward comes down to what you do with those emotions.
Your anger is hurting no one but you.
They say depression is anger turned inward. Allow yourself to explore your feelings of anger and release them in a healthy and productive way. It is important to not suppress them or to partake in escapism – escaping the pain of anger through unhealthy coping tactics such as drinking, self medicating, overeating unhealthy foods. Suppression of emotions and escapism will only delay your healing in the long run, even if they provide you relief in the moment. Allowing your feelings of anger in and releasing them productively is in service of your healing.
Holding tight to your anger is hurting you, not them. So, ask yourself, is the anger serving you and your own peace? Or is it robbing you?
Once you are ready to release it, a starting point is to ask yourself, what are you angry truly about? Be compassionate with yourself as you do this work. It is not a judgment on you. It is simply a factual inquiry. Drill down, consider what about the situation is truly making you angry.
Are you mad at the other person, at the loss of a dream, or possibly, are you angry at yourself? When you discover the answer, you have a decision to make. Do I hold on to this anger or do I begin the work to let it go? What I know for sure, is that you are the only one that can decide. It is a process, but it is worth it.
Reflection as you begin the journey to release your anger:
- What belief am I holding about the situation is causing my anger?
- Who would I be with the people in my life without this anger?
- How would I feel if I let it dissolve?
- How would my life be different if I let go of this anger?
- Can I find a peaceful reason to hold on to this anger?
- How would I react in this world if I live with acceptance of what is?
- Can I know that the belief that is causing my anger is absolutely true? Could there be another possibility?
This is simply an inquiry. No judgment and no pressure to feel any other way then you do. For your own peace, an inquiry is worth it. A questioned mind is your freedom. You can not control another person, you can only control you. YOU are the person that can set you free. YOU are the person that can make you feel better. YOU have the strength and power to release anger, resentment, and battling. This is for your own peace, not theirs. You are the one being robbed. Do it for you.
Aren’t you worth it? Give You, Your Peace.