I really had no clue what I was going to write about today.
Actually, that’s not true. As usual, I had too many clues and was having more trouble, than usual, deciding what to choose.
Then I read this wonderful post, called “They Could Not Forget,” by Louise Gallagher. At the end, she writes:
The war is over. In loving memory of my father and those who fought beside him, I let go of anger. It is time for me to make peace.
Louise’s post gave me lots of gifts, including the title of this one.
So, what do I want to write today, about Letting Go of Anger?
Here are my beliefs/observations about anger, at this point in my life:
- Anger is a human feeling, just like joy, sadness, and fear.
- Anger is a reaction to not getting needs met, including the need to feel respected and valuable.
- As with any other feeling, it’s helpful to let anger flow through you — without squelching it, trying to extend it, re-directing it to an inappropriate target, or otherwise screwing it up.
- Most people don’t have good role models for experiencing or expressing anger, so we often screw it up.
- In my culture, anger is more accepted in men than it is in women.
- Personally, when I was a kid, I had some experiences that would make ANYBODY angry; however, I didn’t express that anger.
- There are many, many reasons why I didn’t express anger back then. Maybe there wasn’t enough room for my anger. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Maybe I and other people around me could not have borne it.
- I don’t know all the reasons why I didn’t express anger when I was a kid. And I don’t need to know. I can do my best, in the moment, to let go of anger, now. Like Louise.
I love lists. Does it show?
So my commitment to myself — and to any others bearing witness — is this:
I will do my best to let go of anger. I will not expect perfection in that, or in anything else.
I need one more thing, before I publish this.
I love images. Does it show?
First, I will check to see if any recent photos of mine will fit the bill.
Okay! I took this photo yesterday, revisiting the same place I pictured in my blog two days ago (here).
That’s the place I was, when I was a kid, where I felt anger and fear.
Re-visiting there, taking photos, lingering, breathing nearby, writing about it, showing this to you — all those things are helping me let go of those old feelings.
I am honoring my commitment.
Thanks to Louise Gallagher, Children’s Hospitals everywhere, people doing their best with anger, witnesses to healing, and to you — of course! — for reading today.
Thank you Ann! I appreciate you and your words and willingness to let go of anger — I believe if we all let anger go — to not “squelch” it or hold onto it, our world would be a better place. As you write — it is just an emotion — and there’s no need to hold onto it. Somewhere I read, anger that has lasted more than 10 minutes is not about what is happening now — it’s about the past. Let the past go.
Hope you have a joyful and angry-free day!