“Just for today, I will not anger.”
I love this line because its deceptively simple. We are not being asked to be perfect. We are being asked to look at how we process conflicted emotions. It is almost inevitable that at some point you will become angered by something, but what do you do with that anger? Do you stuff it somewhere in your body and pretend it doesn’t exist? Do you let it stew until it erupts like a volcano, scorching everything within a 100 mile radius? Or do you see it for what it is, following that anger to its (possibly) multiple roots and diffusing the anger by healing the real conflict?
If you’ve ever hung out with me if the office for more that 10 minutes, you’ve probably heard me ask you to “acknowledge, honor, and release.” I say this a lot! So often, our minds are like fish tanks with rabidly hungry fish darting around, threatening to swallow each other whole. We spend our days preoccupied and distracted, and we don’t take care of our “fish tanks” so our thoughts become unruly and even blinding. By taking time to look at what’s happening within our minds, by naming the feelings and truths in that fish tank, we can begin a process of healing and empowerment. That is what acknowledging is about. All anger needs to be acknowledged.
Anger is tricky because sometimes it can be very hard to acknowledge. Our egos play games with us. We rationalize that we have “no reason to feel angry” when our body is telling us otherwise. Other times, we know we are angry, but we’re filled with so much self-righteousness, we stop looking for the root of that anger. We stop the process of digging deep because it is far more comfortable to “be right,” that to look with compassion upon a situation and risk discovering other perspectives that might force us to take a different kind of responsibility.
Just for today, look at how you process anger. Look at what makes you angry. If you journal, write down the last 3 times you were angry, and what your relationship to that anger was.
When you became angry, you generated a great deal of energy. Where did it go? Is it still going in circles within you, looking for release? Did you lash out at someone, shooting all of that energy in their direction? Were you able to look at your anger with compassion and create a healthy process of release that left you feeling invigorated?
What if, for one day, you did not anger, but instead used each opportunity to anger, as an opportunity to love, choosing forgiveness, humor, or compassion for yourself and all you interact with?