How to Let Go of Anger
Imagine this scene. You are about to go to sleep on a Sunday night. It’s about 10:30 and you have work Monday morning. After brushing your teeth and preparing for bed, you climb under the covers.
That’s when you hear it. Yelling. Someone’s angry. Really angry. You can’t hear exactly what they’re saying, so you jump up from bed.
You shut off the lights in the room and peek out from behind the blinds. There, in the middle of the street is a skinny guy flailing his arms, screaming at the top of his lungs. You can’t quite here what he’s saying, so you quietly slide the window latch over and raise the pane a few inches. (Don’t laugh, you know you’re nosy enough to do it!)
“We’re not doing this!” He screams. He’s obviously very upset with the other person standing in the street. ”This isn’t how this relationship is gonna go. And if you think it is, maybe it is time for a break!”
The body language coming from the object of his rage conveys shock and bewilderment.
“You know what? I don’t know what to do with this,” snaps Bewildered. ”I’ve never seen you this way.”
“Yeah? Well maybe it’s high time!” Crazy Man screams.
“I’m done with this conversation,” Bewildered turns to walk away.
“Don’t walk away from me!” Screeches Crazy Man. “This conversation isn’t over. Sit the f*ck down! This will be over when I tell you it’s over!”
Have you ever been that angry? So angry the hairs on your neck stood up? So angry that you went into “red-eye” mode and it felt like you were out of body, reacting to everything around you?
I am normally the most laid-back guy. I don’t get too riled up about much of anything. (That doesn’t mean I’m not stubborn as heck, though).
Up until a couple of years ago, I would have said I couldn’t ever remember a time where I yelled at anyone in anger (beside my little brother and sister when we were growing up).
You may have noticed I said “up until a couple of years ago”. That’s right…I’m ashamed to admit that “Crazy Man” from our story was me.
Anger consumes us. Doesn’t it? We think we are angry at someone or something else, but the fundamental truth is that we are scared.
Several years ago, I suffered the breakup of a close relationship. The other person moved on. I was devastated. When I say devastated, I mean the depressed, call-your-friends-and-cry-all-night type of devastation.
No matter how much I vented, cried, or tried to purge all the “ick” out of the situation, I couldn’t move on.
I was SO angry! Angry that I had let myself be so vulnerable. Angry that I couldn’t move on. Angry the other person had. I was consumed by the anger.
This morning, I read this about anger in A Course In Miracles. I had to share.
The relationship of anger to attack is obvious, but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others.
How I Let Go of Anger
So how did I move past my anger?
Ultimately, I took responsibility for it. The other person had not quit living. The other person had not lived in hurt for over a year. The other person had not “done” this to me.
As soon as I recognized that I was the one who had created the hurt by projecting that meaning onto the circumstances, I realized that I could choose a different meaning. In that moment, I freed myself.
That doesn’t mean all the emotions were simply resolved. I had spent over a year reinforcing neuropathways of hurt and betrayal in my brain. It took some time to reprogram those, but the venom was gone.
How You Can Let Go of Anger
You can let go of anger too. Follow these steps.
1. You Choose the Meaning – Recognize that you choose what every situation in your life means to you.
2. Take Responsibility for the Projection – Remember that anger is often projected onto someone or something else in order to preserve the ego.
3. Make a Different Choice – You have the power to choose the meaning. You always have. That’s why you’re in pain. So make a choice that serves you better.
Anger always involves projection of separation
Whenever you are faced with anger, look for the fear. It will always be there. If you can eliminate the fear, the anger subsides because it has no “host” from which to leech it’s requisite enormous emotional energy.
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