I Am Not Angry Anymore (Part 1)
Does anger hijack your day and keep you from experiencing what you want?
When I choose to get offended and become mad, I stop doing what I really want to do and become a prisoner of the offense. At times, I have been so angry that I left social gatherings where I had been having a good time, canceled plans I was really looking forward to, was kept from getting work done, shut down possibilities, and hurt people that I love.
I am so grateful for a process of inquiry that helps me get back to doing what I want, rather than sitting in the prison cell of suffering in my anger.
Did you know that it is a physical impossibility to experience both anger and curiosity the same time? Curiosity is kryptonite to anger. Its power can set us free from our prison cell and walk us into the freedom of the life we want.
In the past, I thought the anger I felt was all one, big ball of anxiety, sitting in the middle of my chest, and I had no idea how to unravel it. However, the more I get curious, the more I see the different parts that make up my anger, and that helps me to dismantle it into bite-sized pieces.
The first part of my anger, which happens in the very first moments that I am angry, is the layers.
Thoughts begin running through my head based on the occurrence.
I decide what is true about me, them, or it.
I work to prove myself right about what I believe is truth.
I become more convinced that my belief is the only thing that can be true.
I get mad.
This whole process occurs in mere milliseconds of time, without much conscious awareness on my part.
The second part of the anger is the pattern or physical experience.
As my “truth” dominates my thoughts, emotions start flowing through my body.
I tell myself that I/them/it is bad, broken, or wrong.
As I fear pain based on my assumption that this is true, I begin to withdraw and isolate myself.
A familiar pattern of behavior occurs.
Creative thought is blocked.
Confusion and hopelessness set in.
Offense grows and turns to judgement, resentment, unforgiveness, and bitterness.
I sulk in my despair and suffering, isolated from the life that is right in front of me.
At any point in either of these two stages, I can consciously choose curiosity and begin to unpack the offense, if I will.
- I can notice my state or mood and decide I want freedom from it
I ask myself, "What am I angry about?"
I go back to the original offense and locate the thoughts under it.
I discover what I believed to be true about myself, the other person(s), or the circumstance.
I ask myself, “Is that true? Is it absolutely true - could I prove it?”
“No? OK, what else could be true, if not truer than that?”
New possibilities begin to open up, as I see that maybe the situation or incident wasn't what I thought it was.
I choose something new.
I am able to let go of my anger and start living my life again.
By asking questions and applying a process of inquiry, new possibilities open up, so I can get off my anger and get back to enjoying my life.
Next week, I will share a recent, personal story of my experience with this process of curiosity. My ego was producing anger and taking me out of the moments I had dreamed about being a part of, and this process of inquiry brought huge results.
This week, notice the moments when you feel mad, angry, or offended and see if you can recognize these stages? Use this unpacking process and see what opens up for you. I would love to hear what works and what doesn’t in comments below.