Within my life, anger has always been treated as it is a fire to be extinguished with urgency. Many believe anger is bad and needs to be circumvented at all costs. Don’t sit in it. Meditate it away. Think happy thoughts. Squash it before it squashes you.
I have mentioned in other posts a little about what happens to me when I suppress emotions. They build until I reach boiling point. It isn’t pretty.
Something fascinating happened a wee while ago. The situation wasn’t that fascinating itself. It was more infuriating really. The awareness that followed after the encounter though I found really exciting. It all happened when someone at work spoke to me in a disrespectful manner as they ranted about their bad day and how I was contributing to their inner discontent by asking questions pertinent to my job. I watched as this person’s inner child threw a tantrum. I admit I didn’t do my best work when I turned on my heel saying as I left the room, “I’m over being treated like this.” Note to self: the inner-victim still needs some work.
“Flight or Fight”
My body headed into ‘flight or fight’ mode, my face felt hot, and my heart was racing. I sat down with a glass of water in the staff room and I asked myself, “Is the feeling of anger mine? Does it belong to me?”. I gazed out the window as the gent with his inner child still raging walked past. He was still pouting. The heat disappeared from my cheeks. My heart rate calmed down. I laughed to myself a little. “Nope. The anger and the bad day is definitely not mine.” I mentally sent that anger back with awareness to the person it belonged to. I felt really energised. Normally when dealing with situations like this, I end up bereft and emotionally drained. This day was very different.
The situation made me realise how much I carry other people’s emotional baggage on a daily basis, claiming it as my own.
The way I was spoken to normally triggers my anger and frustration. What I realised in this moment though is that when directed at me another person’s inner-child tantrum and resulting poor behaviour can be a motivator for me. Experiencing this is actually a blessing. “Why?”, I hear you ask perplexed. Because it is a catalyst for personal transformation for me. When emotionally balanced, grounded and not swinging around the periphery of someone else’s psychological cyclone, I am able to perceive a situation for what it is with clarity and awareness. When I buy into the emotions I am experiencing in reaction to the event, my perception is muddied and the inner victim cries louder, drowning out any acknowledgement of opportunities and choices available to me.
Unleashing the Lion Within
Acknowledgement of choice is empowering. We know we have the capacity to choose and change our personal situation. There is a deep understanding that another’s behaviour is not about us. They are merely processing their own emotional stuff. My anger evaporates and I experience a feeling of compassion and understanding. I don’t need to rescue them or involve myself in their story. Finding the peace within myself and being kind in my words and energy I direct to them is enough.
In dealing with the above-mentioned situation, I acknowledged my anger. I sat in it without judgement or suppression. The storm passed. In this moment I recognised the lion within is not about unleashing my anger on others in retort. There is no need to defend. My inner lion surfaced and it was about presence, and confidence in who I am and what I have to offer to the world.
How does it get any better than that!?
Anne McCormack is author of the book, Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind and the award-winning, Peacock Dreaming: The Wisdom Of Flowers.
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay
Like what you have read here? Check out these other articles written by Anne McCormack:
My Wish For You – Stepping Into Mindfulness
Making Me Happy! A Journey Into Mindfulness
What Makes You Fizz? Living Your Purpose
Re-Learning The Joy Of Living With Journaling and Meditation