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February 17, 2015

How Anger Helped me Transform My Life.

office paper

Four months ago I found myself living in a constant state of anger.

Deep, intense, unforgiving anger. I was slowly morphing into the type of person I would typically avoid.

This kind of anger is hard to describe because it was so out of character for me. It mostly consisted of being in a quiet place and feeling hot tears unexpectedly skip off my cheeks out of frustration. I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, but it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Hours on my meditation pillow did nothing for the deep emotions I was experiencing.

I was aware of a few causes for my anger, but sometimes it all seemed so petty.

I was angry as I watched the career I had once truly loved and invested the first five years of my adult life into quickly crumble and prove to be a dead end.

I was angry about working so hard to be the best person I could be and still struggling to get by. I was angry about anxiety attacks, on the drive to work, that I couldn’t quite figure out how to control. I was angry about betrayal in relationships, abandonment paired with unexpected return and the fact that I had to hide a love that never really went away from my family and friends because I didn’t want to look weak. I was angry when I saw bad people be given good things. The list went on and on.

At one point I wanted to stand up at my desk at work, throw the tedious documents I constantly worked on, up in the air and say “F*ck this shit” and walk out. To be honest, I’m extremely surprised (and proud of myself) that I didn’t.

But no matter how nice it sounds to let it all out, it’s always more important to be remembered as a classy woman who kept her cool.

But, deep down I was still pissed off all the time.  I was an angry little yogi in my stretchy pants, crystals and hemp t shirt. Imagine that.

Suddenly I started to feel tired. Too tired to be miserable. Too tired to talk about it and defend “my side”. The anger had sucked everything out of me. I finally acknowledged what was going on and chose to make a real attempt at getting my sh*t together.

And then, like a god send, I found this quote — and it clicked.

“Anger is information; it tells us something about who we are and what is on our mind and in our heart. Physical pain is negative, because it hurts, yet also positive, because it’s the body’s way of protecting itself by indicating that something is wrong and where it is wrong. Anger is a bit like this. It can show us something crucial about our emotional life that we may need to know in order to be healthy. Anger indicates that something needs attention; something needs investigation. If we are angry it’s because we are thwarted and frustrated or afraid somehow and possibly we don’t know it and we need to know it so that we can shift and grow. Almost always our various fears and frustrations signal times and opportunities for growth and change—if only we look them in the face. When we are willing to do that, we see things differently, more accurately. Instead of avoiding our fears and frustrations or beating our heads against them in anger as we lash out at ourselves, others and the world, we are able to pass through them and become larger, more inclusive and more compassionate people.”  

~ Norman Fischer

As a yoga instructor this quote stumped me. I read it over and over again.

In the past, I have lived by this quote from the Buddha.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~ Buddha

So naturally, this difference was a lot to process at first. It didn’t quite make sense to me that my anger could be a positive thing, if it was looked at with a different perspective. I always thought anger led to negative things regardless of how it was handled.

I never thought I’d say this, but my anger was one of the most beautiful things that has happened to me this year.

I came to the conclusion that anger can actually assist us in developing into more compassionate, loving, patient, beautiful people if we don’t immediately label it as a bad thing.

I needed to sit with it and let it burn me enough to hear the message it was bringing. My feisty soul craved the time to breathe through the anxiety, stress and bitter thoughts in order to make sense of it all. It was a time for me to learn to forgive, accept that others are on their own journey and be okay with the fact that not everyone accepting or praising the way I choose to live mine is okay.

Shortly after reading that quote I quit my job, packed my bags and drove to California to spend time with my guncles (gay uncles). It was the perfect time to get away and reset. I had two weeks before I started my new job and I wanted to show up on my first day completely free of any negativity. I gave the relationships in my life, that I had been pushing away, a second chance and stopped worrying about what others thought about my decisions.

It was pretty simple once I stopped and actually thought about it: the life I had been living for many years was no longer serving me and as soon as I chose to flow with the changes my world took a miraculous shift.

Life is very different now.

Everyday I wake up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready to go to a job that I absolutely love. I eat breakfast and sip my tea in my quiet and peaceful home. I show up on my mat and practice yoga, expressing my gratitude for life.

I am inspired everyday.

My mind is healthy and free of anger and anxiety. I can breathe and be me.

And it’s all because I chose to sit down and stop fighting my emotions and really listen to my anger.

So listen babe, f*ck the whole status quo about anger being “bad for us.” My life is a perfect example of proving this belief wrong.

If you’re typically a healthy, happy person and you find yourself fed up, pissed off and ready to move on, then do it. Don’t wait a second to do so. Choose to think outside the box, look for the little signs that come with it and go with your gut because it is always, always right.

Sometimes all the anger means is that it’s time for a change and that you’ve learned all you can from your current
circumstance.

And that’s perfectly okay.

 

Relephant read:

 How to Tuck Our Anger into Bed at Night.

 

Author: Bailey Mikell

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photos: flickr

 

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