It’s OK to get angry.
Not a message you hear very often, particularly if you’re into ‘personal development’.
But just imagine a life without emotions…
I don’t know about you, but back in the days when I was deep in the corporate rat race, I was fortunate (?) enough to be sent on any number of courses to help me learn how to suppress my emotions. This was supposed to lead me to a state of inner calm that could never be shaken, no matter how stressful things got or how much I yearned to fight the system.
Fortunately it didn’t work. Why do I say fortunately? Because emotions are such an essential part of life.
Just ask anyone who is taking medication, to reduce their emotions. The drugs numb out the good emotions, along with the less desirable ones, and people often describe it as existing, rather than living.
I have seen that first-hand, with people I love.
Pretending You Never Get Angry Could Be ‘Faking It’?
Then there’s the so-called “spiritual bypass”, which works in a similar way to mood-suppressing drugs. You go around pretending that you’re not really feeling angry, scared, guilty or any other so-called “negative” emotion. But really you’re faking it. And that’s a recipe for long-term unhappiness and dis-ease, by suppressing the body’s auto-pilot response to strongly emotional experiences. (Bruce Lipton writes brilliantly about this in his book The Biology Of Belief).
So why are we so obsessive about getting rid of emotions?
Because dealing with logical, rational people is more predictable. It’s perceived as being more professional.
It’s easier for everyone else.
Yet to shut down emotions is to deny a core part of our identity.
All emotions have a light and a shadow side: for example, many people feel fear and excitement in the same part of the body.
The thing is that if we suppress our emotions, we either find ourselves shutting down or the negative emotions shout louder until they feel they’re being heard.
Negative (yucky feeling) emotions are an early warning system to tell us when something isn’t right. To deny that is to deny your intuition.
They can also be a trigger for us, if it’s time to let go of an old, out-dated, auto-pilot response to a given situation.
Sometimes, if somebody behaves in a way that makes us want to scream, it’s because they’re being a mirror for us, to show us habits we have that are ready to be released.
Of course, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways of expressing emotions, but not expressing them at all can’t be right.
And why is it so important to allow yourself to feel angry?
Because anger and passion are felt in the same part of the body. Kill the anger and you suppress the passion. Anger is a major motivator towards creating change. Imagine a world without it?!
So my message is that the emotions we feel that are NOT the problem, but the actions we choose to take as a result of them.
And we always have a choice.
What’s The #1 Mistake We Make With Anger?
Swami Vivekananda in his book Voice of Freedom (a weighty tome, but inspiring reading!) reminds us that it all goes wrong when we identify with the anger – when we become one with it. Then the anger becomes our master and we lose control.
Talking about someone behaving badly towards him, he describes:
“At first I thought “I am going to be angry”. Anger was one thing and I was another. but when I became angry, I was anger.”
Whilst our anger is still at the “seedling” stage, we can still choose how to respond.
Once we have become one with it and are telling ourselves that we are angry, then any choice disappears. It has become part of our identity and will drive our behaviour. The trick is to spot the seeds of anger early enough, so that we can choose how to respond, rather than triggering our historical auto-pilot programmes.
Want A Short Meditation You Can Do, To Healthily Let Go Of Anger?
If you’re regularly experiencing anger and rage, then you need to ask someone for help – there can be many causes, which shouldn’t be ignored.
However, if you need a way to deal with it healthily, right now, here’s a meditation you can do, in a safe way – please use it responsibly! And, obviously, choose somewhere safe and private to do this.
Take three deep breaths – in from your belly and out with a sighing ‘ahh’ sound.
Allow yourself to imagine you are breathing in, all the way from the centre of the earth, through your feet, up to your chest. Then breathe out through the top of your head, into the sky. Next breathe in from the sky, through the top of your head and to your heart, breathing out all the way down your body, out through your feet and into the earth. Keep going with this cycle for a minute or so.
Now it’s time to breathe out the anger.
Let that sense of anger come up – be present to it – stop resisting or fighting or judging yourself.
Rant and say what needs to be said (out loud, if needs be, though ideally not to the other person).
Then breathe it out like a whirlwind, out through your feet and into the earth beneath you. Really feel the anger leaving your body. You have emptied out the rage, now it’s time to let it go. It’s not about pushing it out. It’s about allowing it to flow and be released.
Then, when you’re ready, connect with that deeper wisdom, deep inside you, that knows that the person who triggered your anger is not their behaviour. That is simply the role they have agreed to play – an Oscar winning performance – in order to press that button for you today.
Allow that deeper wisdom, the pure love essence of your true being, to wash through the situation.
Then, when you’re ready, imagine cutting the energetic ties to the experience and set yourself free. Perhaps imagine a huge pair of scissors, physically cutting those old ties. It’s done. You can let go.
Then it’s time for a cup of tea 😉
You are amazing. You are wonderful. All you have been doing is proving that you’re beautifully human.
If you find it difficult to ride the waves of the emotions of life, then cultivating a regular meditation habit might help you. In as little as 10 minutes a day, you can make lasting changes. Perhaps you would like to join in with our 28 Day Meditation Challenge?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic. Please feel free to share via the messages box.
This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!
! Finally I’ve found something which helped me. Kudos!
I had a moment of insight in a brief course of counselling recently. The counsellor said she thought I was very angry.. I reflected on this and experienced a joyous release and self-affirmation.. of course I should be angry!
For the years when I was unsupported when I desperately needed support in mental and physical illness, the struggles and hardships that weren’t necessary (I now realise that I probably have undiagnosed Aspergers, it was unknown in women when I was younger), the pain and hurt that anyone accumulates on their journey through life.
The revelation was that the reason I hadn’t allowed myself to feel anger was because I didn’t feel I was worth it. I didn’t rate or deserve help or support because I wasn’t important, valuable enough.
So although I don’t feel anger towards family, friends, circumstances or myself, everyone was on their own journey and acting from their own limitations at the time, letting myself feel this unexpressed anger moved me on.
It didn’t feel overwhelming, scary or wrong, it was appropriate and an emotion that might perhaps have led me to address those situations differently if I’d lived it at the time (I wonder if it’s there to give drive and impetus for change? A signpost that something needs to be different..)
Apologies for the length of post, and thankyou Claire for discussing this and giving tools to help identify and experience, learn from, love and move forward from anger xxxxx
Hello there Clare
Catherine here. I agree with a lot of what you say and I found the above quite interesting. As you know I believe in an Almighty, All-loving, All-merciful, Triune God but I still get angry or have other emotions I don’t want. I agree with you, it is faking to pretend one doesn’t have them.
What I do and should do more often, is get alone (in the bedroom usually) shut the door and give God an honest account of the state of affairs. If I am furious or hurt by X I tell God what I think of him or her and shout at that person in a loud whisper (can’t really shout as we are in a semi and the neighbours would hear!). I use a pillow and punch X or shake him/her and hit X, maybe swear if I can’t restrain myself – just let all the fury and anguish out. When I’m exhausted or have calmed down I tell God how I would like X to be – how I think God intended X to be and I ask God to change him/her into the wonderful person God intended them to be at the beginning. Then I have to tell God my faults, i.e. not being able to forgive X, hating X, the foul things I think about X and other faults I know I have which could easily get up X’s nose and I ask God to change me too and forgive me. And He does. He’s wonderful! I feel better after that.
And then if the bad feelings come back because X has again hurt or upset me I repeat the process. Change comes gradually.
Hope you find that helpful?
Lots of love. God bless. Catherine xxxx