Dealing with Inner Anger: An Exercise in Letting it Go
Anger is just one of many emotions that individuals experience. Anger is also an emotion that many try to deny. I am not mad at him, This type of thing happens all the time. It’s really not her fault. It’s not that big of a problem. These statements are just some of soothing phases that we say when we do not want to deal directly with our emotional anger. Denial is a powerful defense that we use to try to hide anger. When we acknowledge that we are angry with someone it brings out other feelings such as pain, hurt, mistrust, and hopelessness, and sometimes guilt. In our society, we are told that it is unacceptable to be anger, or to even display anger. Hearing this message, we revert our anger to other unacceptable ways. Road rage, arguing with your significant other, being rebellious at school or work, yelling at the cashier for ringing up customers too slowly, are ways in which our inner anger is displaced at vulnerable targets. Learning how to appropriately release and control anger is crucial. If unreleased anger continues to fester, there can be myriad deleterious physical effects, which can lead to high blood pressure, migraine headaches, gastrointestinal problems, back ailments, ulcers, strokes, and other more serious health problems.
An individual’s ego is fragile. If an individual’s ego is merely grazed, it can become damaged, causing the individual discomfort. Could this be why many individuals prefer to demonstrate displaced emotional anger because any attempt at dealing directly with the source of anger will undoubtedly cause discomfort? Guess what? Dealing with anger will result in individual feeling more in control of the situation. Let us look at how this works.
EXERCISE IN INNER HEALING
Things you will need:
Quiet space (no TV, radio, unnecessary noise)
Minimum 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time
An open mind
Think of a situation that caused you to become extremely anger. For instance, let’s say that your best friend of several years has betrayed you. Put yourself back in the situation and feel what you felt then. To help you concentrate more deeply, you may want to close your eyes, and visualize your friend betraying you, or whatever situation you use. Make that situation come alive to the present. Allow yourself to feel, hear, smell, touch, and see that event unfolding.
When you are able to vividly re-experience this situation as if it was occurring right this moment, say to yourself, My ego has been damaged, and I can understand why. She was my best friend. Allow your ego to get as worked up or emotional as it wants to. Contemplate revenge, self-pity, or whatever your ego feels is appropriate. Imagine that you are overflowing with your feeling. Think of your feelings as a large pot of water this is about to boil over. The pot boils over and spills all over the oven, the counter, and then the floor.
Follow the boiling water as it flows all over the floor, observing it flowing farther and farther becoming less hot. Envision the water spreading as far as you want it to go. As the water spreads across the floor to infinity, also feel the water becoming cooler and cooler to the point where the water is no longer simmering. Do not rush your feeling. The feeling may be so intense that it may take a while before it wants to expand.
As you see the water disappear and feel the waters temperature become that of room degree, examine yourself and see if any of the following feelings are present:
You feel like laughing
You feel indifferent
You feel a sense of calmness or peace
You feel exhausted/fatigued
You feel lifted
You feel a sudden release of energy
You feel a sense of forgiveness
These are some the signs that the feelings of anger are being processed and released. This exercise will not mystically dispel every angry feeling. The intention of this exercise is to help you become more in touch with your feeling. You can apply this exercise to any intense feeling that you may hold. You will be surprised how easy it will become for you to deal with your feelings in a healthy manner, once you learn to escape the intense control that most emotions can have on us.
The greatest form of control is knowing when to let go… ~Evelyn Moore.
Copyright 2005 Dr. Deborah C. Moore