Understanding and working through anger
By Sarah O’Brien
When we feel anger, rage, fury and frustration it can be overwhelming and consuming. Much like a fire sweeps through a forest, it can swallow up and choke out all that we have carefully cultivated.
We can sometimes feel the fire coming; the radiant heat and smoke is that flare of agitation and clouded perception.
And when the fire hits, sometimes you cannot see through it. Sometimes no matter how many water-bombs you drop on it, it doesn’t dissipate. Sometimes it can be a little scary and you can feel as though you’ve lost a part of who you are.
And then, the fire runs out of fuel and you slowly come to a standstill, turn around and see the aftermath.
What caused the anger to burn so fiercely in the first place? Like a fire, anger comes from a combustible set of factors. However, like a fire, anger mainly comes from a build-up of debris, of matter that is yet to decompose. The more there is lying around, the stronger and longer the fire burns.
We accumulate many life experiences, many of which are not digested properly. These experiences build up over time and the longer they are ignored, the larger and more toxic they become. We often don’t realise they’re even there (out of sight, out of mind). We also ignore them because we think that to actually clear the way is far harder, and it’s easier in the short term to leave them lying around.
Once the anger has burnt away, what is often revealed is a deep, deep sadness. It’s the sorrow felt by the land underneath that needed tending but because of all the junk on top it wasn’t cared for. It’s the sorrow left behind from deep experiences that caused us to cover them up with other junk to keep us from dealing with what we were experiencing.
If you find yourself feeling angry, and moving into rage or fury, as hard as it is try to sit with that fire. Learn to let it burn and yet contain it just as we would a wild fire. And teach others how to help you. For most people, sadness is something we are used to helping other people through, but anger is not. We need to remind ourselves that anger is the first layer, and deep down if we or someone close to us is experiencing anger it is most likely going to reveal a deep wound if we can let it move through in a safe, loving space.
When you understand anger, you begin to learn more about how we as humans have come to where we are. If we can see anger as a veil to sadness, it introduces compassion into our lives as we are able to see that we are all carrying so much junk that needs to be processed and let go of. Learning how to let go is a process, but it’s worth it to see the land replenished and healing.