Let's talk about anger.
I realize that I may lose you right there.
Most people would rather feel any other emotion than anger.
We feel afraid of it.
We may have hurt people with our anger.
We may fear that if we are angry now, people we love will go away.
We may remember being around angry people and getting hurt by them.
We don't want to relive those memories or get close to that emotion again.
I want to teach you new things about anger, so you can experience this emotion without your history, without discomfort.
I want you to feel safe in your own body with this emotion.
I want you to more successfully communicate with other people when you are angry.
I want you to know how to take care of yourself when you are around angry people.
All feelings are information. The same is true of anger. Each type of feeling contains a specific message.
The specific message of anger flares like a bright red stop light.
It says --
We may remember being young and small and not being able to say NO, but we knew something wasn't OK for us. And then we learned to cope. We coped in a variety of ways.
We shut down.
We became compliant and flexible even when we didn't feel that way.
We exploded with our feelings to keep people away.
Let's pretend that we have the safety and freedom to explore the territory of anger right now.
Here's what we can see.
And that's the invitation, of course. To stay with these sensations and see what actually happens.
Not to act them out.
Not to blame the other person for our sensations.
Most people have two common beliefs about anger.
1) That our angry feelings are the other person's fault.
2) That our job when we feel angry is to fix the situation by trying to change the other person.
Our anger wants our private attention. We have to start at home base.
How does anger feel in my body?
What am I trying to tell myself with my anger?
What is absolutely not OK for me right now?
This simple witnessing of our own anger facilitates an opening for inner change. Simple but not easy. It takes practice.
As we witness, we notice subtle changes.
Our anger can begin to settle a bit.
We may feel more grounded.
We feel seen by us.
We receive inner guidance about best next steps.
The gift of learning to be present with our own anger is that we discover what is under it. Anger acts as a protector of preciousness.
Quite often, what we will find there includes --
These precious places connect us to a feeling of smallness inside. That smallness needs a champion. You are the best champion for you because you are in your own skin and can know yourself better than anyone outside of you. It may initially feel scary to connect with these tender places, but that happens privately, internally, without any pressure to share or change.
If we decide to communicate with people about our feelings of NO, we need to learn how to do this successfully.
We need to learn to say "no," just as we need to learn how to say "yes" and to say "I don't know."
One of my favorite ways to share information is to use this phrase --
"What's true for me right now is ..."
You complete the sentence, each and every time.
What's true for me right now is ... that I don't like this.
What's true for me right now is ... that I need something.
What's true for me right now is ... I'm having this feeling.
Sometimes you may not even know what you will share.
But you will be sharing something real about you.
And that brings people closer together, which is what we fear won't happen if we allow our anger.