Rageing To Sageing
Penny Cohen, LCSW
Rage is running ramped. People are angry about everything; not having enough money, time, sex, intimacy, energy, support systems, friends, pleasing environments, circumstances, rest and relaxation. The rage is about not having enough, doing enough, being enough. It’s feeling powerless, not being in control, not having what we desire. It’s an incredible frustration that we let out sometimes on ourselves as anger turned inwards which often leads to depression, or else we let it out on others, which leads to blaming, shaming and raging.
For years psychotherapists and communication experts have been telling us to express our anger. However, about a year ago there was an article in the New York Times Magazine Section saying researchers have found that expressing anger only makes us angrier. What a dilemma. How do we get rid of our anger now? We process it before opening our mouths.
Much of the advice for dealing with anger while having an argument with someone is to count to 10 – or even 50 – if need be before opening your mouth. Others say just take a deep breath, contain the anger and then speak rationally. Then we’re to process the anger later by exercising, meditating, walking in nature, listening to music, or whatever other method that lets the energy divest itself. These are excellent ways of diffusing anger temporarily, however, not necessarily the best in changing future karma of situations creating anger, or restraining it, and better yet, not having it at all.
Many gurus, sages and spiritual coaches today teach that we create our lives. If you believe like I do that this is so, then we also create how people treat us and react to us. If they react in ways that anger us, then it must be something in us that is triggering them and us. If we learn what that is, and change it, then we’d have less situations that anger us.
For instance if we are angry at others or even ourselves it’s usually because we’re judging. Whatever we judge either within ourselves or towards others is a reflection of something we haven’t resolved within ourselves or are not dealing with. It might be that we were like that person at one time and still are embarrassed by it. Or else we may want to be like that person and are jealous. Or, that person is just the opposite and we go overboard to compensate. It could also be that we don’t like what we’re hearing or, perhaps, there is a misunderstanding and we don’t speak up or speak up too blatantly. In all these scenarios we get down on ourselves – and therefore often unconsciously or even consciously we get angry at ourselves for not communicating our needs or desires appropriately or assertively, and therefore, don’t get our needs met.
All anger comes from ourselves and is at ourselves. If we can identify what that is, then we won’t create negative reactions in people that anger them or us to begin with, or even if others do get angry, we’ll respond more appropriately.
Although it does help in the moment to restrain the emotion, in the processing later, rather than just diffuse the anger it’s more beneficial to understand the root of the anger. To process effectively it helps to feel the energy or vibration of the anger. Recognize it only as a vibration, just a vibratory sensation in your body. When we emote in anger it is usually an acting out of a deeper CORE feeling we’re not allowing ourselves to experience. As you continue to focus in on the vibration of anger see what deeper feeling is going on underneath it.
Anger is often experienced physically in the jaw, neck, and/or shoulders. If there is constriction in those areas it’s usually an indication of some deeper feelings of shame, guilt, deep grief or powerlessness. If any of these feelings resonate, then just sit with the identified feeling, experiencing it in your body as a vibration. While identifying the core feeling and sitting with this vibration ask what it reminds you of from the past – perhaps in childhood or early adult. Or else ask yourself, “When was the first time I experienced this sensation and emotional feeling?”
A memory will often crop up from your body, not your mind. One woman complained that her significant other never helped. She said she was angry because she always had to do things on her own. In processing through internal inquiry she remembered sitting on a stone bench waiting for her mother to pick her up. Mom was late and everyone else left and she was alone and scared. I did some internal inquiry with her.
I asked her, “What did you think of your caretaker?”
She answered, “She isn’t here to take care of me.”
“What belief did you formulate about yourself?” I asked.
“I’m not important.” She said.
“What decision did you make about how you would live your life?” I asked.
She said, “I have to be strong and do things on my own.”
“How have you lived your life as a result of this fear and decision?” I asked.
“I always have to do it all. I get it done but resent when people don’t help me,” she said.
I then asked her to sit with the feelings, thoughts and behaviors. After a minute tears started rolling down, “I’m the one who never asks for help and even when people offer I don’t let them. I actually push people away and then resent having to do things all by myself and get angry at them. Oh my, I’ve done it to myself.”
In general whenever there is a problem, the real anger is at your own behavior based on feelings, thoughts and beliefs experienced and formulated as a child. Although they helped you survive as a child, and even may have made you stronger for it, you want to ask yourself how these feelings and beliefs are serving you now. If they are not serving you well and you wish to transform them, you can thank them for being there to help you all these years. Send love to them and send them out with love. There is a good chance you will feel a release of the anger. Then ask internally, how in a similar situation in the future might you do it differently. Often images and/or words will pop into mind. These are now intuitive affirmations that come from your own truth; the sage in you. Now affirm that new intuition in a form of a declaration. Imagine it in detail as if it’s already accomplished. Put a ball of light around it and bring it all into your heart. Give thanks for the ability to set the seed into potential. Notice how you feel.
The more you practice feeling and freeing the old feelings, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors, the easier it will be to free it spontaneously even during an argument. Keep practicing this so when new situations crop up that are similar, you will respond from the intuitive sage in you, and just by changing the beliefs you will actually change your karma to a life free of anger altogether.
Good luck with your new anger free life.
Staying In Touch & In Love