Amy Rees Anderson

Recognize It, Control It, and Let It Go

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Buddha

As I thought today about the past events that took place on September 11th I couldn’t help but think about the amount of anger and hatred those people had that committed such horrible acts so many years ago today.  That day should serve as a lesson to all of us regarding how toxic anger can truly be and the importance of not allowing ourselves to let anger into our hearts.  Anger changes people. It corrodes their souls.  And left unchanged it eventually turns to hatred.  And hatred…well hatred destroys the person who carries it.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”  – Mark Twain

Stopping feelings of anger or letting go of feelings of anger isn’t always easy.  When someone hurts us, or wrongs us, or threatens us, it is a natural reaction to instantly feel anger.  But it’s learning to recognize the anger, control the anger, and let the anger go that matters, and those are skills we all need to master to have a happy life.

Controlling our thoughts is the best way to control our anger.  In those moments we have to force ourselves to think logically about things.  We have to recognize that what is manifesting itself as anger is most likely actual feelings of hurt or disappointment or frustration.  But in those moments it feels safer to be angry than it does to be hurt. Anger feels more powerful and hurt feels more vulnerable, so its easy to see why so many people choose to default to feeling angry.  Being vulnerable is admitting that you could be hurt even more than you already are and no one enjoys that.

Some examples of how we can control our anger with our thoughts would be – We have to change our thoughts from “I have to have” to “I would like”.  Thinking “I have to have” leaves you nowhere to go but angry if you don’t get it, but “I would like” allows you to feel grateful when you get it rather than angry when you don’t. Another example is when things go wrong we can’t allow ourselves to think “everything is ruined”, rather we have to think “I am understandably disappointed but this is not the end and eventually things will be okay”.  When it comes to relationships we have to stop thinking “I hate this person” and change our thoughts to “I don’t agree with this person, or I am hurt by this person, but for my own sake I am going to forgive them and move forward.”

“Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with character to forgive. You release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened was OK, and it doesn’t mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It just means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go.”

Imagine how much better things would be if all of us controlled our anger and never let it grow into hate.  Hate is such an ugly word.  The world would be a much nicer place if that word was no longer a part of it.  I think it would be an awesome tribute in honor of all those who lost their lives as a result of hatred on September 11th, 2001 or any other day, if we all committed to make more of an effort to recognize our anger, control our anger, and let our anger go.

And let’s be honest – being happy and loving is SO MUCH MORE FUN 🙂     Have an amazing weekend everyone!

~Amy

1 Comment

  • Ivette K. says:

    Very insightful post, thanks for sharing Amy. Anger is for sure toxic and destructive. However, there’s a big difference about feeling angry/hate and acting on anger/hate.

    I agree that “hate” is a very strong word that is used slightly in the workplace and outside of it.

    Hating violence, injustice, discrimination, corruption and evil things in general is more than acceptable. This doesn’t imply that we should harbor negativity and hold to grudges for a lifetime. There are times when we need to grieve such as we did for the 9/11 events, it’s healthy to do that.

    Allowing hate and anger to control our lives is very destructive.

    The are very valid reasons why we feel hate and anger, though not coping with these feelings effectively and not letting go sets the state for a very unhappy life.

    Ivette

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