Of all the emotions that we, as human beings face, anger is perhaps the most visceral and least understood. Anger can take many forms and it can also lead us down into rabbit holes from which we may or may not ever find our way out of again. For some, wallowing in their anger seems to have become the great American past time? Still, others will flatly deny that they are angry, while cursing you under their breath for even asking such a stupid thing and then promptly go home and kick the cat because now they are in a bad mood.
As a country, we are one of the angriest people on the planet. Why is that I wonder? I find it interesting because I’ve had my own issues with anger and as I try to learn more about it, the more elusive it seems to become. Anger is like a chameleon. It changes its color and shifts with our other moods, but it can remain right there with you, just under the surface, parasitic in nature. It’s like there’s a little mercenary with a bad attitude that waits in camouflage until that very moment you least expect it; he jumps out and attacks. He uses full metal jackets and an assault rifle with a scope. He lets loose his barrage on anyone and everyone within range.
While it is frightening to those around us, it is equally frightening to us when these episodes happen. Facing anger is a scary, scary thing. Even more so when it has been a part of you for so long that you have totally forgotten why you are even angry in the first place. Anger is like that unemployed cousin who came to visit and is still sleeping on your sofa. He isn’t YOU. He’s an invader and you don’t know why he’s still there. You don’t know why he came in the first place because it’s been so long now. You’d love to get rid of him, but you really don’t quite know how. You’ve come to take a bit of comfort in him being there on the sofa for you, so you tend to forget that he’s intruding in your life and taking up valuable space. Stop feeding him and he’ll go away.
Is There Hope For People Who Want To Move Beyond Anger?
Dr. Judith Orloff, an author, a psychiatrist and a clinical professor at UCLA, states that people can change. She says that the the key to ridding yourself of anger is to learn compassion. In her book, “Emotional Freedom”, Dr. Orloff talks about Mark and the loss of his father. Mark viewed this loss as “senseless and irreparable” and this changed him dramatically. He treated the world with disdain for its unfairness. Mark ended-up learning his lessons the hard way, after doing time in prison for the things he did in anger. He sought help, went to therapy, became a student of the Torah and changed his life because he committed to it. He’s now been married for more than 20 years and is a happy and productive person who runs a halfway house with his wife.
The key, for Mark and for everyone, is to get to the root cause of the anger and deal with it. It takes work and for some, that work may be too much. For some people, it may be the longest and most meaningful journey of your lifetime. It’s a transformation and a shift within your soul that has to take place. The question, I suppose in my own opinion is, ‘do you think you’re worth it?’ I for one believe that I am and I am embracing the journey.
Anger can come from many places. It can come from a childhood need that never was fulfilled, it can come from a great loss and devastation in your life and it can come from many things in your life that combine. I look at it like a pipe under the kitchen sink that begins to clog. As things pile on top, the clog gets worse and it gets tighter, compacting itself into a tight ball of muck. All the little bits of muck start to get caught in the big ball of muck because there’s no room to be let go now, and drain out in their natural way. The little things that normally wouldn’t be an issue are now an issue because there’s no way to let them go; there is no proper outlet.
A “proper outlet” is necessary for anger. Let’s face it, anger is one of the most common emotions that we all feel. Things make us angry. Anger is a huge part of what makes us human beings. If we didn’t get angry about things, then we would never seek to change things. Constructive responses to anger are fantastic! Getting angry because you get a bad grade on an exam would be normal. A constructive response of studying harder and resolving yourself to doing better the next time is fantastic. Getting shit-faced drunk, feeling sorry for yourself and punching some guy in a parking lot is not so much of a good response. However, people do things like that in their responses to anger.
Therefore, anger expressed accordingly, can be one of the best motivators in your life if you allow it to be. Anger can also eat you alive and make you a miserable person if you let it. I don’t intend to let it. I’m working on shifting myself to a compassion consciousness. I know it won’t be easy, but I know that I can do it because I want to. I believe in me, I don’t need anyone else to. I’m working on surrounding myself with people who are what I wish to be. I am letting anger motivate me to grow and change. Choosing a positive outcome, I’m taking control of my life and kicking that cousin off the sofa.
Begin With Being Thankful For Honesty
I believe that all things happen for a reason and that people come into our lives when we are ready for the lesson that they are going to teach us. They are there, at this stage of our journey for a reason. In fact, while it isn’t easy to do, when someone comes into your life and forces you to look at yourself very hard in the mirror, you should accept this as a gift. This is quite possibly the greatest gift that the Universe can ever bestow upon you – someone who cares enough to be honest with you and care about you enough to truly want you to be healthy and feel better.
Even when they aren’t sure that it is possible for you to change, just the fact that they are willing to put their neck out there and tell you that it is time you face your demons is worthy of your sincerest respect. While some will just accept you as you are, only a TRUE friend will tell you that you’re completely fucked up and be willing to accept that you may not like hearing that. Even if they type it to you and then slam their laptop shut before you can respond. They fired a potshot at the little mercenary under your skin and then they ran for cover like Rambo; falling back to see if they hit their target and if there will be any retaliatory gunfire. God bless that person and their courage. They deserve a medal of honor.