We’ve all been there. Something’s happened and despite your best efforts you can’t do anything about it now. You leave it in the past, or so you think. Whenever you think about it, you brush it away – it’s no use feeling angry now, is it?
Logically, this makes sense. What does getting angry do to help the situation? You can’t rewrite the past. You can’t change what happened. Anger now doesn’t affect history like that.
And this is true, on a cognitive level.
But we’re not purely cognitive beings. We have emotions too. What about those?
You might protest: Well, it’s no use getting angry, is it? Surely getting angry now isn’t a rational response?
We’re not talking cold rational logic here. We’re talking about emotions. And emotions do have their own logic, but it’s not what we usually think it is.
The thing is that the anger is still there. It’ll be there until you feel it. It’s not so much a question of “there’s no point getting angry” as much as it’s actually that you are already angry and refusing to feel it!
What you have here, is a stuck emotion. A blockage in your pipes, so to speak. A stuck emotion is an unresolved emotion that hangs around in our system, an emotion that hasn’t fully run its course but that has been stopped short or blocked.
It stays there until it finds a way to come out. The anger, might cause you to be snarky at the people involved. long after things have passed. It might come up and bite you on the butt in similar situations. Or it simmers gently underground until you explode. Or you slide gently into depression. Or it keeps you awake at night as you wonder why you keep thinking about this old situation that you can’t do anything about.
So to resolve it and be free of it, you have to feel it. You have to let yourself be angry. Accept that you are already angry! Give your anger some space. Let the anger make itself really known, let it change like the patterns of oil on water until it’s said and been everything it wants to be and say.
The art of this is to feel it and to sit with the feeling, not to dive into acting it out. I’m in no way recommending that you do anything harmful to yourself or anyone, or thing, else. Be with the anger until it’s told you everything you need to know.
Somewhere I came across the idea that when you really feel your emotion, it passes in 90 seconds. I usually find this to be true, in fact it’s often a lot quicker too. It may morph into another emotion: anger dissipates and reveals sadness, or grief, or regret, or love for something which has been violated.
I’m not saying that it won’t hurt. But it’ll pass more quickly when you feel it directly, than when you let it simmer away underground, even perhaps for years, and hurt yourself and other people time and time again until you’ve felt it, known it, and released it.
The more often you practice this feeling and releasing, feeling and releasing, the quicker the process becomes. You spot blockages for what they are when they occur. You process your emotions with less and less of a time lag after the event.
And the freer you become from your old, hurtful situations, and the more capable you are to deal with whatever happens next.
What does your anger want to tell you?