Recently I became increasingly aware that something just wasn’t right with me. At first, it wasn’t completely obvious that it was anger that was brewing inside, but after a while it was undeniable. I became impatient, snappy and just not my usual self.
Shortly after this realization, a quote by the Buddha came to mind.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
I took it as a sign to act on healing my heart.
I began the process by reflecting on how I respond when I experience anger, and I saw two distinct patterns. Most of the time if I am triggered and start to feel my blood pressure going up, I ask for space in that moment. This lets me gather my thoughts and listen to what is coming up for me, so I can hear why I am upset. I can then have a conversation with the other person that allows me to communicate in a productive and meaningful way.
The other pattern that I see is that there are times where I shove my anger deep down inside, and I pretend that is isn’t there. I smooth it over with justifications as to why the incident happened, and I can have myself fooled into thinking that I am not angry at all. But as we all know, it doesn’t work that way. If you hide your emotions, they will come up in one way or another.
Because anger can be all-encompassing, it is one of the most difficult emotions to work with. It is powerful and can be a viscerally intense experience. It can manifest itself in sickness or injury, or it can lay dormant for years and explode when you least expect it.
Unresolved feelings can be toxic in ways that can affect the ability to enjoy life on a daily basis.
So, how did I let go of my anger and get to a place of peace? Once I realized that I needed some support to work out what was coming up for me, I chose to seek help from a trusted professional. It only took a few sessions of going deep into the heart of my emotional pain for me to feel back to my usual self.
If for some reason you are not able to do this, (or you don’t want to go that route) then you could do journaling or talk to a trusted friend.
The most important action to take is to create a safe space for you to listen to the dialogue that is happening in your mind. That way, you can understand what has you all riled up.
Next, dissect the situation and see what you can take responsibility for and what you could do differently the next time a similar situation emerges. Will you need to speak up for yourself? Do you need to separate yourself from someone? Would it be better to take a timeout as soon as you feel triggered?
Lastly, forgive yourself and the other person(s). This is the true key to being able to let go. But, you can’t just jump to this step. You need to face the painful emotions so that you can find calm in your soul.