The Beautiful Thing about Anger
Anger makes you feel stirred up. For me it is triggered by a number of different things. And the feeling doesn’t start out as anger. It starts out as sadness or disappointment. Most often the sadness or disappointment at someone not coming their distance in a relationship. A lack of attention or regard or consideration. Or a failure of someone or just things in general to meet my expectations.
The first sentiment is a sadness. Which feels like it is off limits. When I was younger, if I revealed that I was sad or upset about anything I was told I was wrong or silly or bad or something along those lines. So I learned to hide or quash any indication that I was feeling that way.
Now, the best thing for me to do would be to be attentive to myself in the moment where I am feeling that, and prioritize my experience over others’ reactions.
Feelings are not wrong.
And we are not accountable to anyone else for them.
They tell us who we are, who we were, what our experience has been, and how to live (the same or differently).
When I quash feelings of sadness, disappointment, the feeling that I want to cry, or sulk, or sit alone or change my mind about something or someone, I eliminate a lot from my experience and my relationships about who I am.
Sometimes I feel so super sad about…
- how sad other people are
- the opportunities I have watched pass me by
- someone I like not returning my effort to get to know them or communicate or listen
- someone who has known me all my life and who says they love me not paying attention to or asking questions about what I say or my reaction to things.
- about our dependence on inanimate objects to relate to each other
- it being so long since I traveled abroad for any length of time.
- the length of time it takes for us to really get to know each other and ourselves
- the fact that we rely on so many superficial things to make ourselves feel good
- feeling lonely
- so many other things.
The anger comes when a voice in my head a or an appropriated reaction arises — telling me in less than a fraction of a second that I am wrong, or that I will be harmed for letting that sadness or disappointment show, or become any kind of action or reaction. The anger is immediate.
For the longest time I could not even see that process, it happens so quickly. I couldn’t tell the difference between feeling the pain of sadness and the pain of anger. Because there was so little time between them.
For me, the pain of anger shows itself in different ways than the pain of sadness, I discovered. The pain of anger shows itself in my silence, my tension, the movement (or lack of movement) of my body, a straight face, hesitation, un-fun scheduling, stories I tell myself about what other people are feeling or thinking, stories I tell myself about what the outcomes of my efforts will be, stories I tell myself about the reasons why some people do things, the stories I tell myself about how I shouldn’t be so lucky to go where I want, do what I want, the stories I tell myself about whether what I do or say or contribute matters at all, and in whether I believe I am entitled to receiving good energy, attention, gifts, efforts from people who enjoy being around me…
Anger is always a minus “-” equation. It has been a sentinel “a soldier stationed as a guard to challenge all comers” and isolate, exclude, darken, shade black & white, push away, scare, restrict, misread, threaten, strip, bleed…
Sadness does not kill life in the same way. Sadness needs to be free. Free to roam. So that people can see who you are… Anger does not tell us who we are. It tells us what things are not. Sadness tells us what we need, what we want, how, what, and who we love, what is missing, what our intentions are, the good path….
So, the beautiful thing about anger? When you feel it you know that you’ve forgotten to pay attention to who you are…