Emotions are a very powerful thing. I spent the first 30 or so years of my life denying that I had any emotions that weren’t positive. I was the eternally happy, cheerful one of the bunch. Nothing ever got me down. Of course in reality I internalized every negative emotion—usually in the form of chocolate or bread. Mmmmm….chocolate bread…with cherries…my friend Kat gave me a recipe for that…gotta try it out soon.
But I digress. Since my divorce and my subsequent time on the therapist’s couch (everyone really should give a try to cognitive behavioral therapy...self-examination rocks, even though mine doesn’t actually have a couch) I have learned that all emotions are good—even the bad ones. Contradiction in terms, right? Wrong. Without the bad emotions we lose sight of how great the good ones are. Without the darkness, how do you know the magic of the light?
In the past few days/weeks, I’ve found myself facing one particular emotion more than I care to—Anger. I say it with a capital A intentionally. This hasn’t been passing annoyance; it’s been deep seeded Anger towards a lot of different people and a lot of different situations. Here’s the kicker though: even more than the particular “things” that have triggered the Anger, I find myself absolutely FURIOUS that I’m so Angry. I have finally felt what true Happiness can be in my life, so I am just ticked off that I’m consumed by the A-word. It has interfered with where I truly want to be in my world right now.
Funny thing that hit me a little while ago. My Fury at the Anger is what is blocking the Happiness. We are not actually limited to one emotion at a time. I can be Angry with something, express it in my own way—whether my writing, taking a walk or yelling (gotta stop yelling at my Dad though…sorry Pops about that)—then the crucial next step is to LET IT GO. Now, I know there is no magic button to turn the Anger off, but it has to be put in its place. I have to truly live by the philosophy of IIWII (pronounced EEE-WEE)—It Is What It Is. Some call it the Serenity Prayer. Whatever you call it, the concept is the same: there are things we can do something about and things we can’t. Act when you can, move on when you can’t. That doesn’t mean the feelings just go away, but when you put Anger in its place—take control of IT instead of IT controlling you—the other feelings can come back to the forefront.
By the way, it’s interesting when this realization hit me. It was earlier this afternoon when I was swimming with my dad and my two little boys. I’m not a great swimmer, really just learning, but am gaining confidence. My boys wanted to race me, and then proceeded to cheat and tried to drown me. I found it so funny—the idea that six and eight year old kids could take me out—that the Anger disappeared, and all I could think was what a waste of my time it had been.
The Anger is still there, but I think now it has been reduced to anger. And that is Good.