Most of us have a difficult time understanding that learning to let go of anger is an important path to healing and self-compassion.
I have a few questions for you:
How many times have you held a grudge, even if someone has said they’re sorry?
An example: You’re pissed at your husband because you don’t think he’s pulling his weight with the housecleaning. Eventually you blow up like a tornado. He says he’s sorry.
You accept his apology. But actually, you’re still furious. You remain cool and aloof towards him for several days until your anger dwindles enough so that things appear as if they’re returning to normal (although there are still remnants of that anger inside of you).
How many times are you steaming inside because you’re offended by what a friend has said to you; and they don’t even know that you’ve been hurt by their words?
You’re seething inside; rehashing the scenario and wondering how your friend could possibly have said what they said to you? It’s not a pretty picture. And it’s certainly not a formula for developing loving and connected relationships.
You’re stuck in an exhausting cycle. You feel lousy about yourself deep inside (even though you are blaming your feelings on others). You know you have to make some changes but don’t know how.
Below are 5 ways to let go of anger.
1. Forgive yourself
Forgiving yourself is a process; it’s not a quick fix.
You can’t snap your fingers and make it happen.
As a coach I work with individuals who know deep in their soul that their meant to make more meaning out of their lives; They have a deep desire to create an extraordinary life.
But no matter how accomplished or love an individual has in their life, it is rare to work with a client who doesn’t have some issues around self-compassion.
So don’t worry, you’re not alone.
A good first step is to admit how angry you are with yourself. How ashamed and disappointed you feel. The tendency will be to run from these negative feelings: Commit to being courageous and don’t.
Allow your self-anger to stop lurking in the shadows. Let it shows its face. Your job is to observe the anger without self-judgment. Focus on staying detached and just looking at the anger and thinking “Isn’t that interesting…. so there it is…. that’s the anger that I feel towards myself.”
Then take some deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly a few times.
By doing this repeatedly, your feelings of self-anger will begin to dissipate. If you’re diligent about facing up to these feelings, you’ll be surprised at how quickly feelings of self-compassion will replace the negative ones.
2. Give up the need to always be right
Are you someone who doesn’t forgive easily? Do you always have to prove that you have good reason to be angry for certain circumstances or perceived actions that someone else did something negative to you?
The default reaction is to run from your fear like a sprinter in a race.
That’s not a good place to be.
A suggestion: Close your eyes and imagine how it would feel if you chose to be silent, rather than proving that you are right. Initially, it’s not an easy thing to do. You are giving up control (which is a sign of health). But with desire and practice, your icy stubborn piece will melt into a fresh water river.
3. Don’t let other peoples’ emotions effect you
The way that someone responds to a situation is a reflection of how she feels about herself. It’s not about you.
When someone is angry at you, look at the situation objectively. Rather than immediately responding, sit quietly and check out your own feelings.
If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have the opportunity to exercising self-restraint; to say and do nothing.
If your behavior has been hurtful, the easiest and most efficient solution is to apologize.
And that’s it. No self flagellation. It’s important to learn from your mistakes but not to beat yourself up.
Not only does guilt not serve a purpose but it’s counter productive. It keeps you stuck in a place of shame and feeling ‘less than’.
Hold your head high and be proud of who you are. Yes, you’re perfectly/imperfect. All of us are.
4. Be in the moment
How can you use this phrase ‘be in the moment’ in learning how to forgive?
You hurt someone, they hurt you. You ask for forgiveness or they ask for forgiveness. It doesn’t matter how the scenario plays out.
The bottom line is that all is forgiven. There is absolutely no reason to re- hash what took place with your friends and family or ruminate about it in your brain.
It’s important to get on with your life; the next minute, the next hour, The next day.
If you dwell on what has already happened, your thoughts are stuck in the past. Stay focused on the present.
5. Start with small changes
Think about it. If you begin to make small changes in your behavior, you’re creating a new response.
If you begin to let go of anger and think in a way you’ve never thought before, you’re creating untouched emotional and neural pathways.
That’s pretty phenomenal…..and exciting!
When forgiving becomes a part of who you are, you’ll feel like a huge weight has been taken off of your shoulders.
You’ll no longer walk around feeling miserable, like a tightly coiled spring.
Rather, you’ll begin to experience life with an open heart, love, and self-compassion.
I can’t think of anything more glorious than that. Can you?
If you found this article meaningful, please share with others on social media. You could be helping someone else out and it’s good karma! With love, xo, Fran
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