I have been learning a few things about anger lately and something transformative is happening. I am finding my voice.
Anger has been emotionally and physically trying to work its way up from deep inside me, where I pushed it down a long time ago.
I didn’t even know I had it, much less pushed it down. As a kid, I was just trying to be “good” and not do anything that would upset anyone. I was told to “be quiet”, and “leave well enough alone” and “don’t make matters worse”.
I remember times when I tried to express my anger and I was laughed at—like I couldn’t possibly be serious. Or I felt humiliated after being ignored while I courageously risked pouring my heart out.
And I also remember the times when I was attacked.
I learned that if I said something that someone else didn’t like, they left, so I tried to keep my Dad and, later, my husband from leaving.
So, way back then, my little girl mind made a decision. Other people were allowed to be angry, but it wasn’t safe for me to do the same. I decided that anger was bad and I was a bad person for feeling it.
On a search for safety and validation, I became the perpetually positive one, the popular one, and the one that never wanted to cause any trouble.
“See, you have no reason to leave—I’m being perfect!”
“Aren’t you ever in a bad mood?”, I remember people asking.
Nope. I’m an anxious, strung-out overachiever, but bad mood—never.
Talk about exhausting.
And then there are the social cues, right? Good girls don’t get angry. Good girls are calm. Good girls please. I decided I should have equanimity at all times.
Ok, so check this out—here’s the dictionary.com definition of equanimity:
mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.
So, I have to admit, being a student of meditation, this is a concept I completely hope to embody—to be the tree right? Solidly rooted in the ground, just swaying with the wind instead of being uprooted by it.
But when I think about trying to be this symbol of ease and resilience in order to prop myself and everyone else up, I feel a deep sadness for my little girl—and even for my big girl—who didn’t know any better.
One thing I have learned in my spiritual life is that if you feel lost, out of touch with your true self, and overwhelmed by the the physical and emotional transformation happening inside of you, you should:
- witness the fear
- ask for, and be open to receiving help
- surrender it to the Universe
Very soon after doing just that, I found myself talking to a very wise person who taught me things I never knew about anger.
Here’s what I have learned over the last 2 weeks (yes only 2 weeks!)