We often see anger as a negative force. Though it can be a very creative and useful force. When our anger is stuck out the front of us it is in the way. It becomes a battering ram that bashes into other people and becomes destructive. When it is behind us it can be used as a power pack that can positively be a dynamic force, that drives us forward and gets things done.
This week after Ed and I did an anger podcast. Afterwards I was thinking a lot about how anger can effect each of us. Anger is really just another emotion, it is an energy. However anger is either a productive energy or a destructive energy. Anger can be described with other words such a passion, determination, assertion, drive, irritation, exasperation, vexation, indignation, displeasure, chagrin, aggravation and so on. Though in the extreme anger can sometimes tip over into aggression or even violence.
When we have an anger response to a situation or event we are usually just reacting. Generally reactions are mindless. When we respond rather than react we think about what we are doing before we do it. Reactions are mindless where as responses are mindful.
When we are mindful we realise that it is not what happens to us but it is how we deal with it that makes the difference. It will make it either good or bad. Simply, it is the way that we see it. As Epicticus put it…
…we are not in the least effected by events,
we are effected by our response to those events…
Each day through out life we are surrounded by difficult news and experiences. As I write this there has been a terrible shooting in a mosque in New Zealand. For many people there will be a reaction to these events that will be anger. The world can seem to be a troubled place. I guess that we could say that the world is always a troubled place but somehow it can seem to be getting a bit worse. Anger and angry reactions seem to be all around us.
For me the reality of Brexit is coming to pass and I don’t like that. We have Trump spreading his wings and spreading his own brand of destabilisation across the globe and I don’t like that. Then we have North Korea off again producing missiles and winding up the anger of the USA, I don’t like that. I could go on. It seems like there might be quite a lot to let go of over the coming months
The New Zealand bombing brought back a lot of really big negative reactions with many of my clients. This was about different issues but mainly about the Manchester bombing in 2017. At that time I had two families that were caught up in the bombings. Luckily none of them were physically hurt though they had both seen people who were killed and they were showing high levels of post traumatic stress disorder. That scar of these events will remain with many people for such a long time. Yet after this event, amongst all the potential for hatred and retribution there came the love and forgiveness of a collective acceptance and forgiveness in a concert of those refusing to be cowed by the terrorism. In a deeply emotional experience Oasis sang…
…don’t look back in anger…
There are no words more appropriate to this event and to our lives. We all look back on life, we have a choice of looking at it positively or negatively. We have a mindful choice, do we feed the negative events of life with our anger and allow the negativities to grow in our mind and our emotions. The other option is to feed the positive events of life with our love and allow them to grow positively in our mind and our emotions.
Just after I started doing this podcast and blog there has been another terrorist shooting in the Netherlands. On top of that is the apparent growing knife crime here in the UK with several people being killed each week. If we are to move on from our anger about any events whatever they are we need to let them go. In general this is termed forgiveness and that idea makes many people feel angry. “Why should I forgive those people after what they did?”
Forgiveness and letting go
We need to let go of whatever is holding us back, of those things that keep us stuck in the past. These negative emotional attachments to unresolved events limit our ability to move forward, they stunt our creativity and weigh us down. To let go, to forgo, to forgive allows us to move forward unencumbered into the rest of our lives.
Just as in Step One, from the Live In The Present course and book, we need to let go of all our negative attachments right back to the moment of our birth. Holding onto negative past is a choice, though we may not realise it. In mindfulness we can choose to be different, to let go and enjoy this wonderful thing called life. That mindful journey begins right here, right now. the option is to let go of your negative emotions and attachments and embrace your positive future.
Whatever your faith, religion, ethnicity, nationality, orientation, or beliefs enjoy this moment. As we move into this strange post Brexit world we all need to be as positive as we can possibly be with each other. We will be tested and we will need to let go and look after each other.