What does it mean, then, to love it all when anger arises? First of all, it means accepting ourselves in our emotional reaction instead of judging the anger and ourselves as not ok, or feeling guilty or even ashamed about it.
I just want to say that I don’t have all the answers. I’m a human being learning to live her life, just as you are. I’m also a therapist, counselor and workshop leader, helping others to live their life better and less painfully. So I spend more time dealing with and reflecting on these themes than most people, and that’s certainly a qualifying mark. But the fact that I can have quite a temper myself is probably even more à propos. I know what I’m talking about!
What does it mean, then, to love it all when anger arises? First of all, it means accepting ourselves in our emotional reaction instead of judging the anger and ourselves as not ok, or feeling guilty or even ashamed about it. Even if we don’t want to get pissed off or angry, we can still allow ourselves to have an understandable reaction. For most people, negative emotions are not under their control, they just pop up as it were. If we’re more used to working with ourselves at this level, we start to have more choice over how to respond. But there’ll continue to be situations where a knee-jerk emotional reflex hits us before we can catch it.
So this, in fact, is what needs our love and acceptance most: our very human emotional challenges, and ourselves as and when we are so challenged. And here is where it gets interesting. To the extent that we can love ourselves like this, we’ll also be able to let go of our criticism of others when they are grappling with their own reactions. Nobody is perfect in this department, including ourselves. When we realize this, we’ve come a long way on the road to loving it all.
It’s good, of course, to learn not to take our anger out on others. It’s best expressed in a way that doesn’t attack or hurt. Learning this is easier when we don’t get stuck in guilt or shame about it, or assume that we’re right. Ultimately, it’s all about allowing ourselves to be human without taking our reactions too seriously. Emotions tend to pass anyway unless we’re intent on holding on to them, like a dog to a bone.
So next time, when another angry bone happens to get caught between your teeth, do some growling if you must, love yourself anyway, and drop the bone as soon as you can. Apologize if need be, and then have a good laugh about it all!
Images by freedigitalphotos.net.