I’ve been familiar with anger as far back as I can remember. I grew up in a very angry household. Daily I walked the landmine of anger, trying not to detonate an explosion. A constant fear of what might set off an outburst. A constant fear of being harmed.
But I can clearly recall the day my companionship with anger began. I was 7. My parents had separated. My mother didn’t want me. I was acutely aware of this. One day I was at the park with her and my sister. She must have been calling me to leave, but I didn’t hear. I looked up and she and my sister had walked away toward the car. My mother turned to me and said, “You can just stay here and find another family to live with.” I ran to catch up to them but she said, “No, you’re staying here.”
I stopped. I crossed my arms over my chest and said to myself, “Fine. I don’t need anybody to do anything. I can do it all myself.” An armor fit for battle descended over me and I said “f-you” to the world. Had I known the word, I’m sure I would have said it aloud. I grabbed anger’s hand and for over three decades I didn’t let go.
The comfort of the familiar
I remember a retreat I attended shortly after meeting my teacher. We were discussing the Tantric worldview and how our view of the world creates our reality. We were asked to complete the sentence, “The world is…..” I’ve looked back at my notes many times. I wrote “hostile, separated, ignorant.” That was how I saw the world. Through angry eyes.
Anger became my go-to emotion. I used it to deflect disappointment, guilt, sadness, anxiety, pain, and most of all, fear. It was so much more comfortable. Like a well-worn pair of jeans. It fit just right.
Until it didn’t. Like concrete blocks strapped to my feet, as I began to grow and evolve, it became the weight that was dragging me under. Threatening to drown me. I knew drowning was not an option, so I was forced to begin looking at my anger. What was it really about?
Friend or foe?
No emotion is bad or negative. Emotions are energy in motion, and energy isn’t good or bad. It just is. Emotions are merely a form of communication. Our feelings are the language of the soul – a way for our higher self to alert us to something. It is appropriate to be angry when someone crosses a boundary or violates us. It is appropriate to be angry when we are treated unfairly or witness injustice. It is a sign that something needs to change. Perhaps we need to set better boundaries or end a toxic relationship. Perhaps it is a call to action to right a wrong. Anger is often a message to reconnect to our inner strength and to step into our own power.
But when an emotion becomes our constant companion, there is a problem. It means we aren’t listening to what it is telling us.
I stayed angry for over 35 years. When I wasn’t angry, there was still an underlying irritability that never truly went away. I spent most of my marriage angry. A big part of that was the unconscious patterns I was repeating with my husband. I had made him my mother. I made sure that I would not feel cared for and could hold fast to my belief that nobody would do anything for me. I had to do it all myself.
What I didn’t realize was that each and every time anger came up, I was being offered the opportunity to heal. What was I really angry about? Who was I really angry with? And what was behind the anger? I never looked. And the result of not listening to your emotions is that you keep re-living the same experiences over and over again.
The seeds of emotion
The root of every emotion lies either in fear or love. That’s it. And I knew the root of my anger was not love. So, what was I afraid of? What deep fear was being triggered? What was hiding behind my anger?
It would take me a long time to figure it out. A big part of it was the ending of my marriage. After I left, I was no longer angry. I still got mad about certain things, but it was short-lived. I was no longer in a constant state of irritability. Anger was no longer lingering in the background because I was no longer playing out the false beliefs and unconscious patterns that were mimicking my relationship with my mother. I let go of anger’s hand and our companionship began falling apart.
But it would take nearly a year after my marriage ended for me to finally figure out the missing piece. Another memory buried deep in the recesses of my mind. Someone I loved very dearly had been hurt. Someone I would have protected with my own life. And I was blamed. Worse, I blamed myself. I had believed it was my fault.
And in that moment my biggest fear was formed.
I had spent my life caught between the belief that I had to do it all and the paralyzing fear that I would fail at doing it. No wonder I was always angry.
Breaking the pattern
But this time I didn’t hide. I walked straight into it. I had already been working to fix the false belief that I had to do it all. So I began the work to heal that part of me that blamed myself those many years ago. There were many tears. And I forgave myself. I let go of the guilt I had held onto for so long. I had done my best, I know that.
I no longer hide behind anger. The truth is, I don’t really get angry anymore. I get frustrated or annoyed, but I am able to look at those feelings as a communication. I peer into them to see what they are telling me. And then I act accordingly, making the necessary changes to restore my natural state of peace.
Some, like me, cling to certain emotions. They feel comfortable, so we hide behind them, never looking deeper to find their true source. Some block all emotion, hiding behind a wall of numbness. Neither is in our best interest and highest good.
Emotions are our greatest source of information. They are our teachers and our connection to Spirit and the unconscious mind. Whenever you are in emotion you are accessing information. Begin to look at what they are trying to tell you, remembering that all emotions are rooted in either fear or love. Anger, jealousy, resentment, guilt, shame, sadness, grief, anxiety, and depression are all rooted in fear. Start to ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Do the digging. Begin to listen to what your feelings are telling you.
Because buried in your deepest feelings are your greatest opportunities for healing and your highest truth.
Have you ever wished you could break the chains of fear and step fully into love? Shanon and Kim share their journey of healing from trauma, abuse, and programming through acceptance and love. Do you want to step out of fear? Subscribe and follow their journey.