Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Anger and the Art of Healing

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Acceptance begins with acceptance of the feelings of grief. That means letting them flow through you ~ finding the resolve to make your cross lighter to carry. ... Dig underneath. Go gently, but do go deeper. What's there? Where does it belong?

In response to a previous post on depression and healing, Blisschick commented, I think that it's important that we allow our anger, though, especially at the beginning of healing. Yes, we must acknowledge anger. But, we must take care what we do with this anger. Thoughts of revenge, restitution, or desires to spread the misery serve no purpose, and in fact poison our healing quest. Acting out of anger, making decisions rooted in anger, projecting your anger onto others all thwart the healing process, which aims at restoring equilibrium.

I struggled terribly against becoming my emotions. Anger, included. At the height of my anger, I would feel alomst possessed by it. Revenge became a form of emotional self-gratification for me. As though deliberately bring suffering unto someone else would reduce or eliminate my own! When I began accepting that the particular offense occured, and that stewing about it would not advance my emotional cause, anger no longer possessed me.

Providing no resistance to the feeling flowing through me ~ observing it, only ~ also made a huge difference. I find I get angry far less now, that I make a point of trying to consider the offending situation from all perspectives, ie beyond my own. This removes the inclination to judge or lay blame. It turns the focus back to me ~ What's there? Where does it belong?

Two internal actions that I engage in, to avoid becoming my intense anger or grief:
1. Acceptance of reality ~ ie the end of a relationship, death, abuse. Placing focus on responding to the new reality, as opposed to its existence.
2. Taking on only the emotional baggage that belongs to me ~ ie. if one family member chooses against attending a family gathering because of my presence, well, that's their problem, not mine.

Nothing but compassionate attention and time can alleviate the pain of anger. And humility ~ which enables us to accept, and remember that what we think we want does not always provide us what we need.


Anonymous said...

My blog's new tagline is "be brave, choose bliss," which would imply that though we are brave enough to face our anger, that we then decide not to LIVE there.

So, yes, I wholeheartedly agree. In my description of journaling (on Monday) to dig into our stories, I point out that the most important part of this is the SECOND step: connecting our story to our NOW. Seeing how that story has formed us, our thoughts, and our reactions, with the end goal, of course, of severing the power that the stories have over us when we are not conscious of them. The word "story" in this description could also be replaced with "emotions."

piktor said...

I had to learn to let go of my anger.

I was able to make more intelligent choices and thoughts if I did not include my angry/judgemental bagagge in my thoughts.

If you stop judging, you stop the anger.

Anger and fear are twins best left out of the mix.