What about Anger and Forgiveness? This could be your year to let go and shine.
I have been thinking a lot about this subject mainly because I love listening to people. However, there is so much that people say or do that is the result of anger. Most people don’t or cannot pinpoint their anger very well. They get angry at something trivial, in order not to face the actual issue they are upset about.
If we all faced what we were actually angry about, and discussed it, worked through it, then we would be left with a lot more peace in this world. I know that I have personally been on the receiving end of some people who are dealing with anger, but after some reflection I understood that it really wasn’t about me. So here are a few techniques that I have used and discovered.
If you are spiritual, PRAY FOR THEM. Alright, I see you all those that don’t pray – I’ll get to that. But the whole point of the idea of praying for them is that it changes your attitude. It doesn’t mean they deserve your prayer, it doesn’t mean that what they did was okay, but it helps you remember that the person who has caused you offence has probably acted out of their own anger that had nothing to do with you. In turn, you turn your anger into pity, empathy, sympathy. After deliberate action to change your thoughts, after a few months, you no longer harbor that anger.
So if you aren’t spiritual, I highly suggest finding something, whether it be one good memory with that person or something that made you like that person to begin with, and focus on that. Every time you start getting angry, think of something nice. Your brain has so many pathways, and if you can control your thinking about a person, you can change the emotion you feel towards that person. Call it a type of meditation if you want but helps.
This next technique comes courtesy of my daughter’s teacher. I wrote her in desperation… I saw my daughter getting angry a lot and she wouldn’t speak to me as I was the one she was acting out towards. This teacher who loves to help children work through their emotions put an activity within the day that changed my daughter. The teacher didn’t tell me about it but my daughter came home so excited. She told me how at school they got a piece of paper out, wrote all the names of people that were upsetting them, and then crossed the names out and then ripped up the paper and put it in the bin. Her teacher carefully explained that once you put the paper in the bin, you let go of the anger towards those people and you start over fresh. I have never personally tried this technique but my daughter seemed to believe it helped, and she felt more in control of her emotions with the activity. It helps children (and sometimes us adults) to do something visual and physical to help our brain understand that we are done with the anger towards certain people. This is a great exercise for children to visualize letting go of those feelings.
Go to the beach!! Okay, I’m sorry if you don’t live near a beach, maybe a lake, maybe mountains, but there is science in getting out with nature. I know if I am in a cycle of emotional pain, whether it be sadness or anger, getting out of the house and being with nature is a peaceful, and healing experience.
I hate the beach only because I get burned 100% of the time, but honestly after an hour of the ocean I feel better, and healed. This is definitely one of the main places I have retreated in the last few years of a lot of trauma and difficulty. I come back feeling hopeful and refreshed. I do have to force myself, and sometimes I’m angry at the effort it takes to get to a place when I feel emotionally exhausted but ultimately I come back home with hope.
Maybe it’s just seeing the ocean and knowing that there is a bigger world out there than my problems, maybe it’s just getting out there in nature, or maybe it’s just breathing in the salty air, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have a better grasp on any issues and anger I may have and more confident to tackle what comes my way. I also feel this way in rainforests, and gardens… so It isn’t just the beach but I recommend it. It refreshes the soul.
Write! I know it’s simple but write it out. Sometimes writing helps me separate my emotions from the actual event which helps me figure out what it is I am actually dealing with. Sometimes I have too many emotions to sort through, and writing helps me separate and own what I need, and let go of what I don’t need.
Lastly, if there is someone who is truly toxic in your life, you should let them go, but do it not out of anger but of peace… with knowing you are doing what is best for them as well.
If you have have had someone cause you trauma, and yet they have been out of your life for years, you can still forgive and move on:
There is a woman that lost a child in the Sandy Hook tragedy who said it helps to remember that the shooter was a person too. I can’t even grasp the amount of forgiveness it takes for something so tragic as that, but it is possible. You don’t ever forgive people because they deserve it – but as typical as this sounds, you forgive others for you.
You deserve to not hold on to what they did to you. You deserve a free life. Remembering you deserve better than to be defined by what someone has done to you can really help you take the steps you need to look to the future and let go of that past hurt. Remembering who you are – without this pain, is a motivation to accept what has happened and to keep moving forward.
Hoping this adds to a better you this year! Keep going!