Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Embracing Anger

Tossing and turning I look to see the 2:34AM clock time and I jump up knowing that the thoughts crossing my mind will keep me from rest, at least for a while. I had slept peacefully in the early nighttime hours, having finally (I thought) put to rest the feelings of betrayal from a trusted colleague. I know this source of unrest; it has reared its ugly head many times throughout my life.

Trying to view my anger as something constructive is the challenge. I think that I have made peace with the situation, putting it in proper perspective in the big scheme of things….. But no, once again my anger revisits my thoughts and feelings. Anger is NOT my friend; I don’t even like myself when I am so consumed with this emotion! I want to avoid it with all of my being. Faith and Hope, they are my friends, but anger is not a welcome entity in my existence!

Thinking back to the time of my divorce (YUK) after 20 years of marriage, I did all that I could to avoid being angry. I made excuses and used another emotion (i.e. profound sadness) to distract me. Trying my best to react with nobility and bravery, I sidestepped the emotion of anger to the point that friends worried about me. USE your anger, a pastor had advised me. What? What good could come of that?? It wasn’t for me to understand in my time of grief.

Eventually, it was apparent that “stuffing” my anger was counterproductive. Pretending not to be angry was going to come back and bite me in the butt. Finally giving in, I expressed my anger only to find that so many people rallied my topic of distress and added their own anger stories to the conversation. Working with this emotion helped me to face the reality of my circumstances and be proactive. I stood up for myself. I learned that my fear of anger was unjustified. Unleashing my feelings did not make my anger consume the rest of my days after all. It allowed me to move through it and beyond its ugly disturbance. On the other side, I gained compassion and humility and a whole lot of respect for those who constantly cope with circumstances that create reactions of anger to be a part of daily life.

This feeling keeps creeping up unannounced, at the most inconvenient moment. Obviously it is meant that I continue to wrestle with this emotion until time presents new distractions to dilute the intensity. I have to see it through because something worthwhile will come from my having felt it…..

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