“I want to say somewhere: I’ve tried to be forgiving. And yet. There were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me. Ugliness turned me inside out. There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in.”
Yes indeedy I invited anger, bitterness and resentment in for a long time. It had resided somewhat quietly awaiting one of my famous private tantrums of release….these were never pretty nor very helpful. They were instead deadly.
I have learned the hard way that holding on to anger has so many ugly side effects. It reaches into every crack and crevice eating away at your body, mind and soul inevitably compromising your health. My blood pressure was inching up, I was breaking teeth, the weight gain was out of hand, I had insomnia, a bleeding ulcer and migraines. And while these all seemed like enough, I was also unhappy, depressed, stressed out and angry all the time…..oh so angry.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” ― Mark Twain
And why was I so accepting of anger… so happy to keep this close relationship with something that was literally killing me? It seemed to boil down to this…I could not forgive. Actually it was more like I would not forgive. I was happy to savor the nasty, bitter taste. I found power in it.
By doing this, I was able to project all my woes on those I perceived were doing me wrong….it is all their fault. They were stressing me out causing my illnesses and migraines…their fault, Their Fault, THEIR FAULT!!!!!
But what was this thinking getting me? Not health or happiness. What did I want? I no longer knew. I was beaten down. Just dragging myself along. I read books, worked with an acupuncturist and tried to work through all the stress triggers and issues that came up. But what I still couldn’t get my head around was the idea of forgiving.
Forgive, but don’t forget. Forgive, but don’t condone. Excuse, exonerate, release. But I couldn’t. I felt I would give my power away if I did….so I hung on for dear life. Until I was so sick, so worn down that you could have scraped me off the floor with a spatula.
Finally unable to bear the pain, it was time….time to release this anger. It was time for a change. But how? How to turn this negative around? And then one day during my fairly new meditation practice that seemed to be going nowhere, it happened…quite unexpectedly actually. I finally connected with that place behind the thoughts….it was a place that felt like home…where love resided…where healing tears could flow freely…where I could look within without fear, confront the feeling, stop blaming everyone else for my feelings, my illnesses, my woes. To feel it all, let it go, and then to give myself some compassion and time to heal.
No it was not easy, but it was time to take care of me, and this was the only way to let go of the hurt, the anger and resentment. By doing so, suddenly I had more room in my heart and my life for other things. I was transformed and reborn through my anger……now in its place there was peace, joy, abundance. I had channeled my anger and felt free again.
But to maintain these wonderful joyful feelings, I must show up every day, and go to this very special place to continue the work. Do I still get angry….yes. Do I hold onto it….hell no. I feel it, express it, change it into something more constructive and then I smile! A heart stretching smile that carries me through each moment of each day as I learn again to move forward and put one foot in front of the other, some days content to stand still and rest. So very happy for each new breath I draw every day I am alive…really alive!!
Note: In the Language of Flowers the petunia pictured here stands for Resentment and Anger. And they also mean your presence soothes me. I adore these flowers and grow them every year in my garden. Now I know why.
Update 7 months later:
This post was originally published April 30, 2014 in Vision and Verb. When I finally really learned to forgive, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from my soul. I was able to really heal. I saw each day differently as a newborn. I was really happy, and knew I owned my happiness.
Now I still live in this light of forgiveness. Still not an easy path, many times rocky. But I know it is the essential missing piece, that has made my life whole again.
I leave you with another thought about letting go of anger. Feel free to download the photo and share.
All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014. Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.