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 positively can be a dynamic force that drives us forward and gets things done.
Preparing this podcast 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 it can 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 throughout life we are surrounded by difficult news and experiences. As I write this there are huge flood and deaths across Europe. For many people there will be a reaction to these events that will be anger. The same is true for Covid and it’s effects. The world can sometimes 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 and it could get more difficult yet. We have 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 in the coming months and years
Difficult events in the world can bring back a lot of really big negative reactions with many people. Thinking about this took me back to the Manchester bombing in 2017. At that time I had two families that were caught up in the incident. Luckily none of them were physically hurt though they had all seen people who were killed and they were showing high levels of post traumatic stress disorder PTSD. 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 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 ruminate and feed the negative events of life with our anger and allow the negativities to grow in our mind and our emotions? There is another option in life that is to feed the positive events of life with our love, ruminate on those and allow them to grow positively in our mind and our emotions.
Just after I started doing this podcast and blog there has been the shooting of a journalist in the Netherlands. On top of that is the apparent growing knife crime here in the UK with several people being killed each week. Every news broadcast tells us things to be angry about. 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 the 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 the 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. If you haven’t already done so then visit step one on the website and complete the exercise focussing on any negativity that you are holding and let it go. 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, post Covid 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 of negative anger and look after each other.
Take care and have a fabulous life and look after each other.