I’m the type of person who doesn’t get angry at things you “should” get angry at. I get angry at the really stupid things. Like the wifi running out even though it’s out of anyone’s control. First world problems. Or someone telling me what to do even though I’m well aware of how to do it. Or people asking questions that simple common sense will give them an answer to. Or the phrase “you’re too young to understand/you won’t understand until…”. Please. Of course I won’t understand it like you do. I’ll understand it in my own way. We can never fully understand another person, we can only offer our empathy and help. You cannot walk in another’s footsteps and so you will never gain the complete understanding they’re hoping for you to get. Everyone experiences things differently. Most of the time I don’t want understand. I don’t want to feel what that person has been through. It’s unfortunate they’ve experienced that situation, but the sooner they learn no-one can understand in the way they expect, the sooner they can move forward.
I’m on a mission to eradicate anger from my life. I’ve traced the origins back, I know all the exercises to do to let go, and as I was explaining to my friends mum the other day, it’s like a part of me is not letting go. I can feel it being ready to let go. It’s like a balloon ready to be released, but someone is insisting it stays weighed down by a sack of rocks. It so badly wants to be free, but it can’t and so it sways in the wind, patiently waiting for the day someone cuts the cord. It’s hard to explain how it feels, but it feels like I’m so close to it. It’s that annoying almost feeling.
I’m almost there! Oh what a feeling…
It’s easier not to have the anger at all, but that means disciplining my mind not to get agitated just because something didn’t work out how I wanted, or things didn’t go my way. I basically have to master the task of letting go of my expectations before I can cut that cord, and for someone who’s always had extremely high expectations that’s no easy feat.
I think that because I do little extra things to make people’s lives easier that they should do it for me. Or that because I’m a nice person, everyone else should be…it’s actually hilarious reading that and knowing that’s not the case at all – but I still hold out some hope.
The problem with expectations is that horrible word “should”. We all know I’m not a fan of the word and yet there it is: plaguing my life, holding me back because a part of me insists everyone should behave in similar ways to me. I know they’re never going to. I have to stop expecting people to be someone I think they should be – even if I do want them to be the best person and for us to all live in a utopia of love and peace (so corny). They may not want that or be ready for it. I already know all this though and that’s another little frustration is knowing all this and not being able to somehow apply it. I want to apply it, and yet, I can’t.
Buddha was right about desire causing suffering…
Wayne Dyer defines anger as “an immobilising action, experienced when any expectancy is not yet met…it is usually a result of wishing the world and the people in it were different.” He says “every time you choose anger…you are deciding to be hurt” which when put in those words makes me realise how stupid, silly and unnecessary anger is. Why on Earth would I want to hurt myself?! It actually makes it funny! I have found humour in anger instead of guilt! (I must remember that for the next time I’m angry).
One of tarot cards actually asks the question “Is my anger really guilt?”
Cue a momentary reflection…IS my anger guilt?
Where has this guilt from?
And why has it turned into anger?
Is it guilt for not being true to myself and giving too much of myself away to others thus blaming them for feeling as though I’ve half-lived the first quarter of my life? (Assuming I live to 100!)
Is it guilt for giving in to society and to other people’s expectations instead of eradicating them from my life altogether and just being me?
Wayne Dyer talks about the reward system we’ve constructed for ourselves when we get angry and I wanted to share which ones I’m most guilty of:
• Whenever you find it difficult to handle yourself, feel frustrated or defeated, you can use anger to direct the responsibility for how you feel to the person or event itself, rather than taking charge of your own feelings.
• You can use your anger to manipulate those who fear you. This is particularly effective in getting those who are younger, or physically smaller, in line.
• Anger draws attention, thus you can feel important and powerful.
• You can get your way because others would rather placate you than have to put up with the angry exhibition.
• If you are afraid of intimacy or love, you can get angry over something, and thus avoid the risky business of sharing yourself affectionately.
• Make people feel guilty. When they feel guilty, you feel powerful.
• You can indulge in self-pity after you’ve had an attack of anger because nobody understands you.
Anger is just a way for someone who feels powerless to exert some kind of power and to take back that power and control in their lives.
It’s the ego’s tool. It’s destructive both emotionally and physically. When I get angry I physically get really really hot, I start to shake, I literally feel my mind clouding over and sometimes I even have a ‘black out’ of sorts. It’s like my ego cuts the connections to my spiritually rational brain (is there such a thing?) and says “Nope. You have no filter or self-control. Say what you want. Fuck it.”
At one point I was good at noticing when the anger would arise (there are particular situations that are a magnet for my anger) and I would remember that there’s no point in getting angry. Then for some reason I started to feel safe about my anger because I’d been controlling it…nope. Always remain aware!
This means that lately sometimes sarcastic comments and childish tantrums happen without any warning. The words spew out like vomit and suddenly I’m making myself a victim of a situation that doesn’t even require that kind of energy. Then I feel horrible about myself and spend the rest of the day feeling guilty and saying “I’ll do better next time.”
I think I need a chill pill.
I decided to mediate on my anger and I came up with an analogy that may make it relatable for you all. To me, when I get angry I feel as though I have to release it somehow. I can only compare to this to eating a slab of cake when you’re on a diet. You see the cake, and you know you shouldn’t eat it because it’s a diabetes bomb waiting to go off in your pancreas, but you think one bite won’t hurt. And that bite feels sooooo good, and you get such a rush and a release from it that you mindlessly and greedily devour the entire piece of cake. Then when you’re left with crumbs you get a horrible rush of guilt and the self-flagellation begins.
Releasing anger is just like that. You know you shouldn’t say or do those things because they’re not really you, they’re delusions created by the ego, but it feels so good in that moment to release it. It really does feel like a weight has been lifted when you release anger, and then when the guilt comes in it chains you down and adds extra weight.
So really, it’s not worth it. A moment of temporary ‘pleasurable’ release for a whole chunk of guilt? Nope. Definitely not worth it. But we still do it. A rhythmic, cyclic circle of punishment all because we crave temporary pleasure.
I should say that I’m not a violent angry person or even that much of an angry person. I’m making myself sound like I’m some kind of monster. I can assure you that I’m not. Part of the reason why I’m on this spiritual journey is to eradicate all these issues from my life, and sometimes even the tiny ones can cause problems. It usually comes down to a lack of control and discipline.
Wayne Dyer states that everything we need in and from life is created by us. We are after all dreamers in an illusory world learning to awaken and experience ourselves as we are: conscious, mindful creators who never truly die. We are eternal and once we stop identifying with our physical form we’ll realise our potential and how limitless we are. Limits exist in the mind and we are not our minds.
Dyer says that each experience and person are in our lives “because we put them there. They have important lessons to teach us.”
We should then use this as an opportunity to overcome any obstacles and ask ourselves “Why did I create this in my life?”
Well I can certainly apply that to my bouts of anger and the people who I allow to make me angry. I know I have put them in my life to help me eradicate my life of expectation and to allow myself to not have to control everything all the time and stop being such a perfectionist.
I realised in a meditation session that I’m still attached to my anger because a part of me likes it. It gives me an excuse to keep people at a distance and to not let them in. Once I open myself up to them, the anger will let go and my expectations will naturally lower. Then I’m left with myself to deal with and most of the time that seems scarier than anyone else.
“Our uncontrollable anger towards others is propelled by a denial or a fear that we are the way we are judging the other to be.” – Wayne Dyer
It’s okay to be angry but don’t let it be your whole life. It’s not worth it. It doesn’t even really exist. Focus on what does exist: you.
Be happy. Be you.