Three times in the past month I have been with women who have expressed anger at their mothers. Not the passing “she annoys me” kind of anger, but true, real hostility. The negative energy coming off these women was palpable. The anger was deep seated, unresolved and causing them continuous pain.
I connected to these women. Their pain and negative energy was very familiar to me, because I used to be the one it was coming off of.
The anger that I held onto for many years was not directed at either of my parents. It was directed at my husband. In my mind he had taken away my happily ever after. I walked around angry, bitter and resentful for longer than I care to admit.
As I have shared before, my supreme dissatisfaction led me in search of answers. As soon as I realized how angry I was, I knew I needed help. With assistance from books and therapy I was able to examine my anger and see it in a new light. I faced my feelings head on. I was then able to let go and forgive all of the things I had blamed on my husband. This improved my marriage in innumerable ways.
One of the largest lessons I learned from this process, and the thing that I really wanted to say to these fellow angry women is this: You have no idea how much energy is being sucked out of you by carrying your anger.
It brings to mind the quote “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
That is what we do to ourselves. We think that by being angry we are making the other person pay. But it is only us that pays, over and over.
Even when you think you are managing. Even when you think that you have compartmentalized and that everything else in your life is good. The anger eats away at you. You feel it every time the person calls or comes up in conversation. Your body gets tense, your heart rate increases, your tone of voice changes. You may say or think you are fine, but everyone around you can tell that you aren’t.
Maybe you have to deal with the person on a daily basis, or maybe they live far away and you can put the thoughts and feelings back into the recesses of your mind. Either way, your response is proof of the toll it is taking. Unresolved anger is taking much more out of you than you realize.
Once you are able to move through your anger and come out on the other side, you realize how exhausting it was. Suddenly you have so much more positive energy to put towards the things you love.
Many people’s reaction at this point in the conversation is, “But I don’t want to deal with them.” Or “I don’t want them in my life” or “She/he died.”
One of the best things about forgiveness is that it doesn’t have to involve the other person.
It’s true. You can forgive someone who you see every day or who left this earth twenty years ago.
The anger is within you. It is sucking your life force because you are giving it power. But you have the ability to take its power away. By facing and dealing with your anger you can come to terms with it. You can choose to have a relationship with the other person or not. It is completely up to you and doesn’t have to hinder your forgiveness process.
By choosing to forgive, we give ourselves peace. The same way anger is within you, forgiveness can be within you. It is all about our own thoughts and feelings and has nothing to do with the other person.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what they did was ok. It doesn’t mean that you condone their behavior. It just means that you choose to let go of what happened and move forward positively in your own life.
We hide our anger and hurt because we are scared of looking at it. We are afraid of how it will make us feel if we get too close to it. We give it a power it doesn’t deserve.
In reality, when we are brave enough to look at our anger and pain, it is much less scary than we thought. When we take it out of the shadows and really examine it and allow ourselves to feel it, it isn’t as horrible as we imagined. Suddenly we can be gentle with ourselves about the pain and sometimes start to see the situation differently. Once we face our own part in it, the other person becomes more human and forgiveness becomes easier.
I’m not saying this process is easy. But I am saying that you can do it and come through stronger and happier.
I have found peace with my husband. Are you ready to find peace too?
If you are tired of letting your anger fester, please know that I am always here to help. I have helped guide many women on the path to forgiveness.
Anger can be a great teacher if we let it. I urge you to let yours out so you can be free of it once and for all.