“Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” – Laurence J. Peter
Anger And I
I am one person that doesn’t use the word “regret” in my vocabulary. I simply don’t allow myself to feel it, instead I embrace my mistakes as lessons that will help me grow to the better and be wiser the next time. However, when it comes to speaking out of anger, almost always, I ended up drowned in regret.
Throughout my childhood, my father was away, and my mother was clinically depressed being left alone with five kids to rear- the words she fed me growing up were always negative, spiteful, and left me feeling without hope or worth. I understand they were stemming out of her own hardships, but as a child, you want nothing more but for your parents to remind you of your goodness and worth, for them to support your dreams and passions, instead of shatter them.
So by the time I was a teenager, I had major anger management problems. I knew the power of words, they heal or break, and they stick with you forever! And the wounds always remain within and are triggered at the slightest remembrance or hearing.
However, I seemed to think it’s okay to lash out as a mean of self-expression, considering people pushed my buttons and on purpose, I thought I had the right to rebel in anger. Before I knew it I was a loose cannonball that everyone feared even talking to. The more I followed my anger, the more it glued to me.
When you bind to anger a few times, it becomes a habit to express it and anger will always make you believe you’re the victim and that your reaction is justified. You end up losing all fair perspective, and above all, self-control.
On December 2008, I fell in a coma due to my horrendous lifestyle habits. Being busy taking care of everyone but myself, I realized change had to be done. I accepted that I can’t offer others my best if I’m not able to offer myself the best. I can’t take care of others when I’m at my worst after all. I decided to transform my body to a healthy physique, thinking when I see the reflection of a sculpture I’ve so long craved I’d ultimately be happy and without any pessimism or negative emotions. Throughout that journey I came to know for fact that you can never achieve a healthy body without a healthy mind. It is the mental health that determines your physical health and meanwhile I was letting out my anger on the track or in the weight room I knew I had to sit with myself and meditate my way to my childhood and the real roots to this growing anger.
I must say, answering my family in anger- I never regretted it. I think it’s because I think we’re equal. I used to always tell my father as he lashes out at me, “you attack me for my responses- go look at yourself in the mirror, you have mirrored the devil. I got my anger from you father.” I seemed to believe they taught me it. While in a way, that is true, however it’s no excuse. We all have minds and intellects of our own. We only can choose to become different than what we do not accept or wish to be like and only we can choose to work on strengthening our self-control and discipline.
The only few times I felt regret after speaking out of anger were when I met my soul mate and got stuck in one roller coaster ride in hell of the most toxic of relationships. Although what I’d say out of anger was truth, it left me hurt much more than the hurt that lead to the anger to begin with. Why? Simply because it was not me to speak in a certain voice tone, speak not fully conscious, or certainly cause another person hurt. I started to redefine being responsible and really seek emotional maturity. My ability to respond is what determined what happens next and a sequence of healing emotions or the opposite.
From experience, I found that you cannot fight fire with more fire. You both end up burnt. I asked myself how am I any better of a person if I act like those that hurt me? I am not.
Being noble is being good and rightful at those moments when you shouldn’t be.
So I promised myself I’d treat others the way I’d like to be treated under all circumstances and without expectations of them treating me the same way in return. It was vain of me to think that just because I’m good with others, they should be too. I act out of integrity, goodness, and love because I AM that person. I should not change how I am for others. And certainly, I will not treat others how they treat me, why should I turn into someone who does others no well just to be equal? That only eats up my soul not theirs!
The Importance Of Emotions
In reference to this toxic relationship there are few vital points to share. First of all, your emotions are never “just feelings”. Emotions are what all of us construct our lives around. They make us worse or better people.
Secondly, Emotions weren’t made to be labelled. No such thing as “good” or “bad” or “negative” or “positive” emotions. Take for example, anger. It can be more righteous than love believe it or not. Love can be foolish and destructive if you’re not ready for it and are not self-actualized or if it happens out of wrong circumstances and/or timing. I believe emotions are mainly energies made to guide you; to drive you to a more rightful path and your true self and purpose- anger can fulfill that if you listen and act upon it constructively.
Third, a wake up call for me in that past relationship: emotions aren’t passive. They are active. You fuel your emotions be it through jumping to conclusions, over thinking, doubting,.. basically it’s constituted and cultivated in your minds. You can also fabricate them from nothing, merely through your imagination and let me tell you, your imagination is as strong as reality gets for you.
Having endured many tragic afflictions in my life, I realized years ago that what you tell yourself about what happened could cause you more suffering than the happening itself. The fact is, it’s not your emotions that break you; it’s your thoughts. Emotions are passive, your thoughts fuel them. Either to your own self-reduction or growth. Emotions are no more than physical manifestations of your thoughts.. what you think, you feel. And know that for a heart to heal from emotions that don’t serve you, it’s the mind that you must shut if you can’t make it work for you.
Embracing The “Bad” Emotions
The problem with many lies in the fact they not only label emotions but they deny them and/or avoid them. This is a recipe to self-destruction. What you bottle up will explode sooner or later. The most important of emotions you must understand are anger, shame, guilt, bitterness, resentment, envy, and vengeance. This is particularly true in relationships. You truly do meet everyone for a purpose that serves your growth in one way or the other, but it is up to you to find out where the lesson lies. And what if you don’t? Simple, you’ll keep attracting the same toxic relationships till you get that the problems mirrored in them are merely issues you must face, address, and resolve with your inner self.
You must embrace your emotions, find out the reason behind a certain few, understand, accept, learn your lesson, and use them to empower your change to your greater truth- or else yes, you will be consumed and destroyed by your own feelings. For you to be able to do that you must reclaim your emotions. I see many blaming their significant others for their hurt, anger, and resentment. Yes, you may feel justified but recognize blame only takes away your power and hands it to someone who doesn’t exactly care for your feelings. Just as you should claim your happiness as yours and yours alone, reclaim your pains. Blaming someone for your emotional state, particularly if negative, only means you choose to give them an emotional power over you. If someone disappointed you, it’s your choice to not let that happen again. Be responsible, own your emotions, yes, even the hurt. It is yours and caused by you. It is as real as you get. Accept it, own it, feel it, release it, and use it positively. Again, pain is a mean of your body signaling you to CHANGE. Nobody said it was easy though.
Know that you are NOT your emotions. Till you learn to conquer them, realize that, you may FEEL them but you are not them. I used to say “I’m angry,” that wouldn’t exactly help my reaction, now the language is switched to “I feel angry,” you find appropriate means to release that energy to BENEFIT you. There is no such thing as negative emotions, you can use them all to your GROWTH. Emotions, they come and go. But anger is mainly a sign that change is needed and now.
And finally, when it comes to potent emotions and taking ACTION: remember emotions are almost always intense and much stronger than logic. They operate in the moment, in favor of the instantly gratifying- even if it guarantees us no future, or worse, sometimes even destroying it. Meanwhile, our rational faculty plans, reflecting over our past, who we are and what we aspire to become, and keeping long-term in mind.
Whatever you feel, go ahead and express it- but if you’re too consumed by it: wait it out before acting upon it. Remind yourself that no matter how negative and compelling it gets that this too shall pass. Once they have subsided and you’re lucid enough, make your decision.
A last piece of advice: don’t ever allow emotions to overrule your self-respect and rational sense.
I will be continuing this piece on a second post telling you on how I deal with my anger when it does arise. A few techniques and tips to help you conquer your own emotions will be next 🙂