It seemed like everyone was upset about something last week. More than upset. Enraged.
But is all that anger getting us anywhere?
In the November series, Bye-Bye Now, we’re talking about what we need to release. Anger isn’t something to avoid. Its sacred purpose is to show us where things have gone wrong.
But cycling in anger isn’t standing our ground. It has the unexpected consequence of keeping us stuck. And there’s an odd safety in being stuck, even if we’re unhappy.
In the early ‘90s, the vicious battle to become the next “Tonight Show” host became an open secret. As Jay Leno guest-hosted “The Tonight Show” night after night, “The Late Show with David Letterman” dominated after-hours television.
Their intense competition was great for NBC’s television ratings. Yet those ratings came at the expense of Letterman and Leno’s long friendship. David Letterman admits, “I know I succumbed to the pressure of the rivalry that was constructed between Jay and myself.”
He continued, “I don’t miss late-night television. And I’m a little embarrassed that, for 33 years, it was the laser focus of my life. It took a lot of energy and it probably would have been better expended elsewhere. Now it just seems like, really, that’s what you did?”
Louise Hay found herself in a similar predicament. She was an experienced New Thought practitioner when a teacher commented about her anger issue.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she told him confidently. “I’m on the spiritual path.”
However, his offhand remark haunted her. After reflecting on a childhood of habitual abuse, she remembers her moment of clarity: “Of course I was angry.” She received deep healing, but only when she had the courage to sort through her history.
Now she laughs, “How little I could see of myself then!”
We need to use whatever is making us angry as the starting place, and then learn from it. Imagine yourself a year from now. Think what life will look like if you never move past today. Will you find yourself saying, “Really – that’s what you did?”
For instance, you could be infuriated by the election results. But consider this: has the outcome just put you on a path to a lifelong passion? Take your pick – issues from the environment to income equality all need your help.
Perhaps you are like Louise Hay, where you’re starting to understand your blind spot. Anger can be transformed when you acknowledge, “I’ve been lashing out at everyone in sight, but it’s not about them. My real hurt is this person, place or thing. This situation has been so painful that I tried a detour, but I just went in circles. Today is a new day. I’m ready to release the people involved. I’m ready to free myself.”
However you choose to move forward – either by committing to working something through or letting it go – say bye-bye now to expending all your energy on staying angry.
Before the year is out, be at peace.