“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.” – Buddha
What is anger? Anger is the experience of something or someone not being the way we want. Anger may be a normal response to a certain person or situation however, when we hold on to anger it becomes harmful to us.
Holding on to anger is a choice.
Here are just some of the ways anger can affect us.
1. We may think holding on to anger prevents us from getting hurt or disappointed again, but the wall of anger also keeps love out.
2. Beneath anger lies pain. It doesn’t feel good when we think about it, it hurts.
3. When we hold on to anger for a long time, it can become so normal or comfortable that we may not believe that it’s possible to feel good.
4. Anger can make us feel stuck at a place in our lives that we don’t want to be. We may not understand why we can’t break free of a certain pattern or habit that we don’t like.
5. Some people notice the physical discomfort of anger like a knot in the stomach, a heavy feeling in the chest, or a headache.
6. Anger is the opposite of emotions like happiness, love or contentment. These opposite emotions can’t exist at the same time so, if we are feeling angry we can’t be feeling happy, content or loving.
Given such unpleasant possibilities, why would anyone choose to hang on to anger? Unconsciously it’s our defense against change. Our human nature doesn’t like change and feeling angry at someone or something prevents us from looking at what we could change about ourselves.
How do we begin to let go of anger? We can choose to become aware when we’re feeling angry, realize it’s just a feeling and not allow it to dictate our behavior. For example, if someone has done something that causes us to feel angry, instead of retaliating we could choose to ask them what happened, choose to say nothing, or choose to tell them that we felt hurt.
It’s not easy to rid ourselves of angry feelings. It takes practice. In return we get to experience love, happiness, freedom, understanding and contentment. Remember, we get to choose for ourselves which emotions we would rather cultivate. Which do you choose?
With love, Jackie