Many people believe emotions behave unpredictably. They don’t. They follow laws (from classical Physics) that govern energy. If we hold water behind a dam, it builds in both volume and pressure. If we hold anger inside, it builds volume and pressure. With water in a lake, everything operates well until a storm adds more water, or a crack develops in the dam. Then water rushes out wildly and unpredictably, extremely destructive to the environment. With held-onto anger, everything appears to operate well (though damage is occurring within us), until some incident adds additional anger, developing a “crack” in our usual ability to hold it inside. Then anger rushes out wildly and unpredictably, destructive personally and at work.
Remember: we when don’t block water, it just flows through its river/stream bed. Allowing anger to come up, do its work, and move on instead of building up, sends it flowing through, like water in the riverbed. Think of yourself as a “channel” for the energy of all emotions. Allowed to do its job and pass through us, anger flows naturally, functions as our tool and does not build up or fluctuate wildly.
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Allowing anger to flow naturally lets us make lasting changes not requiring ongoing “management.” Like setting an assembly line and allowing it to move products, only periodic quality checks are required. With Anger Mastery, we take the emotional “talent” we’ve been given and put ourselves in charge of it. Anyone can master anger; we’re designed to be in charge of our emotions. Now is the time for everyone to reclaim our own masterful relationship with anger.
When anger arises in you, allow it to come up. Examine your feelings and allow yourself to release anger’s energy without dumping it on others. Write out what you feel angry about, distill it down to one word, or sit quietly (eyes closed), allowing angers’ energy to quietly dissolve. Once you’ve released the energy, look at what message the anger has for you.
Next time, we’ll look at how anger signals us to make perceptual changes in our minds and lives. You’ll be following the principle that guides my life, and thousands of others: “Pay attention, not to what you want to overcome, but to what you want to become.”
Until then, look for ways to empower yourself, even if only for “next time,” when you can change your part and aim for new outcomes. Note your discoveries in your journal.
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Ilene Dillon, M.S.W., is The Emotional Pro. She shares her deep, yet simple, ways of understanding life and how to live it so that you remain emotionally masterful and balanced, turn your “problems” into “puzzles” (and then solve them!), and have the tools you need to create the fulfilling life you want. Her seven-week video course, Turning Anger Into Enthusiasm, will give you tools for releasing anger permanently.