Anger, shame, frustration, jealousy, fear, sadness, guilt,envy are some of difficult emotions that we all feel in our lives. They are part of our experience as are the happiness, excitement, joy, love. What is hard about difficult emotions is the fact that many of us were not thought that it is normal to feel difficult emotions and how to react when we do feel them.
There is this unwritten rule about difficult emotions that we should not feel them or at least we should not express how we feel when we are feeling them. But the truth is that these difficult emotions are present in our lives and they have a lot to teach us about our selves, if we could only listen to what they have to say.
Anger is typically caused by an emotional hurt, when we perceive that someone has done us injustice, or is trying to hurt us in some way, or when we feel that someone has mistreated us. Anger can also occur in the situations when we are finding obstacles that block us from accomplishing our goals.
When we feel angry, at the same time we feel powerful and strong but deep inside we actually feel helpless. Anger is a very strong emotion and it creates power inside of us but that power is usually used to defend our selves by hurting others. It is a reaction that often people have when feeling angry. What is actually happening is that we feel helpless because the power what we feel is coming form a place of hurt and a place of trying to protect our selves by hurting others.
The feeling of helplessness and out of control is actually painful for us, that is why we react and hurt others, because we don’t like to feel helpless and hurt. We feel very vulnerable and often being vulnerable is perceived as being week and again feeling “week” is making us feel helpless.
Understand Why we feel this way
How we react internally and externally to anger is often learned from the people in our surrounding, our parents and other family members. If our parents have had a bad relationship with anger we automatically learn their way of dealing with the emotion and internalize it and than it becomes our way of dealing with anger in the future.
Since many people have a difficult relationship with anger, often people resist it. We perceive it as some thing negative or bad to feel and in that way we start either fearing the anger or resisting the process of going through the emotion.
To understand that the emotion has it’s own process is important. There is the begging, the middle and the end of every emotion that we feel. It is particularly important to understand this process when we are feeling the difficult emotions.
We are not anger, we feel anger
As a first thing to recognize and remember is that we are not anger, we feel angry and we can choose how to react when we feel anger.
In the first phase of feeling the emotion, we are feeling hurt and that is the trigger but than what occurs next is the rising of anger that can feel so powerful and out of control that some people get scared. Because it is powerful and strong, many people compare the anger to a strong storm, people react because it is difficult to contain it with in us. In this second phase people say or do things very often that they regret when “the storm” has passed. The third phase of anger is once the storm has passed, people are left to deal with the ” damage” or consequences of the storm, this is when other unpleasant feelings pop out and we feel embarrassment and shame, we are so sorry for what we have said or done, but we know that the “damage” has been done and there is nothing else to be done than to apologize. We can’t take back our words or our actions. So, not only that we have reacted in a way we didn’t want to ,but we also continue feeling embarrassment and shame after the anger has passed.
It is important to observe our experience and our thoughts about anger. Again, we are not that anger, although it is so powerful that we are totally consumed by it. We do have the choice how to react when we are angry.
Having A Mindful Relationship With Anger
Although it is a process that takes time, we need to be openminded and allow our selves to learn from our past reactions. If we want to have a healthier relationship with anger and a better relationship with our selves we need to rise our awareness. How do we rise our awareness? By observing mindfully what is happening inside of us. If it is difficult to observe during the experience of being angry, than, once the anger has passed it would be useful for us to sit and observe mindfully what just happened.
It is not useful to feel guilt and embarrassment about how we reacted. Or to listen to our inner critique voice telling us of. We need to allow our selves to be vulnerable and open up, be sincere observer of our selves.
When we observe mindfully what is happening inside of us we go through the learning experience that can help us learn how to react more appropriately when we feel anger.
Noticing what was the trigger, but also what we thought and than felt that than provoked other thoughts and feelings is the key to understanding our reactions and our anger. It is not just the trigger but it is the inner dialogue that we start having between our thoughts and emotions that often cause the escalation of our anger and the pain that we feel.
By being able to notice this thought-emotion-action pattern we become a neutral observer of our inner dynamics and from this place of the observer, that is not judging, we can create the space for growth and learn from the experience. Noticing how we internally react, and how that creates the storm within us is where the healing begins.
Why do l say healing? Because, even dough we hurt people with our word and actions when we are angry, we also hurt our selves.
Letting Go Of Anger
Once the anger has passed and we have reacted in the way we are feeling sorry or embarrassed, another mechanism starts developing inside of us and it is our inner-critique monologue. We start replaying how we felt, and what was said and how we reacted and than what the other person said and how we reacted again and than we start feeling shame and embarrassment. It is a process that our mind tends to repeat and repeat endlessly and we hurt our selves over and over again.
This inner-talk that we have with our selves is toxic. It keeps us blocked in that moment not allowing us to learn from the experience and move forward. This is why it is a must for us to let go of our guilt and of our anger because it is only hurting US. When we are in this state of mind we are not able to learn from the situation and than we stop our growth and we keep our selves blocked. In this way we subconsciously punish our selves for what we did, even dough we couldn’t have done better in the moment.
Next time, when you get angry, l suggest you move away from the situation or person. Go out for a walk, listen to the music or do both and don’t come back to the the situation until you have calmed down. Be patient with your self. Be kind and forgive your self for the way you reacted. Acknowledge that you are feeling angry, and any other feelings you are feeling. Try not to listen to your inner talk, be patient with your self and give your self time to calm down. If you already reacted in a way that you are not happy with, forgive your self. You need that forgiveness, be kind and loving towards your self. You already hurt your self by feeling angry. Now, the next thing that you should do is really observe mindfully and try to understand the mechanism that was happening in your head, learn from it and than let go. Remember, in the moment the anger has past and you have learned from it,let go. It already belongs to the past, so let the anger stay in the past. Take the lesson that you have learned and keep it in your memory for the next time.
If you need to talk to someone else and apologize or clarify only at this point you are ready to talk to someone else and to have a constructive conversation about what had happened between you too.