This is one emotion that I thought I had in check. I can be an angry person, but I thought I wasn’t good at holding grudges. I proved myself very wrong. I have underlying anger within me that I haven’t been able to let go of.
What I realize now is that I am not angry at one person. The grudge I have been holding is against my life. I’ve always heard that anger isn’t really an emotion. It’s a form of protection from grief. I am someone that knows grief and disappointment intimately. I’ve loss so many people that I really loved that, at some point, I started to protect myself from everyone. Anger was my wall of protection. I couldn’t love you and be angry with you at the same time. If you disappointed me, I was angry so that I didn’t have to feel the grief of losing another person in my life.
Now, when I say that I am angry, I’m not saying that I am walking around with a baseball bat attacking people for no reason. I am saying that anger is living just below the surface of my consciousness. In my mind, I’m compiling and storing all the reasons to be used against you when I create the excuse of why I don’t have to grieve over your loss. When you walk away, I don’t have to cry because I have the RIGHT to be angry. I didn’t even know that I was doing this until now. What I now understand is that it’s not serving me. I might be right to be hurt, angry or whatever other emotion. The other person may have done something incredibly wrong to me, but I am not hurting the other person with my anger. All that I am succeeding in doing is to hurt myself and keep myself alone. I can never let in any love or good things while I am locked in this jail of bitterness.
This epiphany came about while doing day 1 of the Love Dare from the movie, “Fireproof”. The very first challenge is supposed to be simple. It says to not saying anything negative. I thought that the challenge would be easy. As I went through the day, I was in the discussion with the object of the challenge. I found these mean words popping into my head and I had to push them out and really think about what I wanted to say. When I denied the mean words from escaping, I felt a reaction within my body. I felt a pang of pain. It wasn’t guilt. It was like my mind was screaming at me. I connected to the pain in my body. I connected to this pain that I didn’t know or acknowledge existed. There was this desire within myself to make someone else feel as bad as I felt. I wanted to say something mean so that this person would feel bad too. When I didn’t say the words, I had to deal with emotional vomit that emerged. When I did that, I understood that there was poison inside of me. I understood that the anger is what was driving up my blood pressure and making me sick.
In the book, there is a place to write about what happened that day and the result of what I learned from the challenge. I started out writing about how I wanted to say negative things and I really wanted to make someone else hurt the way I was hurting. As I continued to write, my mind shut down and my heart took over. I was disappointed that I constantly feel misunderstood and undervalued. As I wrote some more, I knew that I had put myself in this position. I couldn’t be angry with the other person for what I chose to do to myself. The anger wasn’t doing anything to help the situation. It wasn’t making me feel any better. It wasn’t doing anything to enhance the situation. It wasn’t even protecting me from grief like it was supposed to. It was only hurting two people instead of one.
I understand now that I have to stop being angry. I have to forgive. I can’t let anything good in until I do. I can’t see anything good until I stop looking for all the bad stuff to happen. Forgiveness is not about the other person. Forgiveness is putting the lock into the jail of bitterness and freeing myself. Now, here is the hard part. I haven’t only been angry with everyone else. I have been angry with myself. I have been angry with myself for allowing other people to hurt and deceive me. I haven’t yet forgiven myself and given myself the pass. The one thing that I am starting to learn is that I don’t have to know everything. I don’t have to know when someone is deceiving me or lying to me, because it’s not about me. Someone that deceives you is lying to himself, you just happen to be there. Honesty is the responsibility of each individual person. If they don’t choose it, it doesn’t mean you weren’t worthy of it. With this realization, I can let go of the anger. I don’t have to protect myself from everyone else hurting me because they can’t hurt me. I choose to be hurt by their actions. The degree with which someone else loves herself is the degree of her ability to love others. I will choose to see a fault in love as the fault of the person loving and not as the fault of the person to be loved.
I love myself enough to no longer poison myself while waiting for the other person to die. Hello, my name is no longer Angry.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”- Mark Twain