Life According To Lenson
Ridding Yourself Of Anger
By Eileen Lenson
Mar 30, 2013 - 4:44:21 PM

UNITED STATES—How often have you been hurt by the words or actions of someone else?  Do you remember how you felt afterwards?  Anger? Bitterness?  Resentment? Stomach aches and headaches? Raised blood pressure and loss of sleep? If the hurt was large enough, you may have even attempted to protect yourself from future hurts by making a decision to not allow yourself to be vulnerable again.


The problem is that protective emotional walls cannot differentiate between good and bad emotions.  Unable to filter emotions, they prevent all feelings from reaching or being expressed by you.  This means that not only are you protecting yourself from the hurtful words and actions of others, but also from the happiness of everyday life.


An absence of experiencing emotions results in an emotionally unfulfilling life.  It is for this reason that it is important to let go of anger.  This is not about becoming a doormat, or denying the importance of your feelings.  On the contrary, letting go of anger towards others is the fastest, most reliable and sustainable way for you to be content again.


When angry at another person for doing something hurtful to you, you become the victim.  The problem with being the victim is that it renders you helpless.  If helpless, you are at the mercy of everyone else.


Instead, reframe the hurt experienced from the other person and see it as most likely tapping into a hurt experienced in your past.  That previous hurt resulted in your learning to believe something about yourself that you want to avoid.  You don't know that this belief may not be based on fact, but it unquestionably hurts. 


Maybe the hurt came from someone who said something to make you feel unlovable, unattractive or unintelligent.  Maybe it was an action, such as feeling abandoned by the noncustodial parent when your parents divorced, that made you feel unwanted.  Or perhaps being bullied when growing up.  Feelings arising from such experiences create the deepest wounds. 


It is important to know that avoiding the painful feeling by putting up the defensive armor, especially that of anger is not necessary.  If you spend some time, and explore that hurt you don't want to experience, you will see that it becomes less of a threat to you.  It is the avoidance of that feeling that is causing you the need to resent others. 


You may be able to see that the comment was hurtful because you are choosing to connect it to that previous hurt.  You now have the ability to face the pain you have stuffed inside and avoided over the years.  Now, instead of resenting the other person for something said, you can choose to see the other person as needing your compassion rather than resentment.  Perhaps the other person is coming from his or her own place of pain, and only knows to feel better by hurting you. In the past, you probably never considered that the other person was also hurting.  Now you can see that it is not you that is unacceptable, but rather, it is the other person who harbors the fear of being so.


With this understanding, you no longer have to hold onto anger towards others.  You don't have to build protective walls because you are no longer afraid of what others think about you.  The most beautiful insight is the awareness that you know that you are worthy, and other's comments cannot negate that truth.


Eileen Lenson, MSW, ACSW, Board Certified Coach, has 20 years experience as a psychotherapist.  Now in private practice as a life coach, she is available for consultations via telephone or in person at 949-244-5100.  For further information about Eileen, visit her website at 

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