…and getting over it!
Anger has a pretty bad reputation.
Yet – like joy – anger is a natural, spontaneous sensation in the body.
By resisting one sensation (or group of sensations), you also block the free flow of the sensations you actually want to experience.
As a human being, you don’t get to choose your bodily sensations.
They just happen, like waves… and they don’t care about your reasons!
People who tell you the opposite couldn’t find their own asses with both hands in the real world.
What are sensations?
When I say sensations, I am not referring to your ideas about feelings.
We all have huge stories about anger, love, fear, sadness.
When I say sensations, I simply mean putting your attention into your body and notice what is happening – right now (and now. And now).
Examples are: Pressure on my butt. Sweating palms. Dry mouth. Breathing. Itchy chin…
This is a very simple, dumb, insignificant and non-romantic process of noticing.
Probably, you will like your romantic ideas about love more than your actual sensations.
Like Waves in the Ocean…
Sensations are like waves.
They come and go. They can be small or big. They can be long or short.
Now, let’s say there is one type of wave you really don’t want to experience.
What are your options?
You can go where the water is shallow, cut yourself off from the flow of life.
Or you leave the water completely. Go to a dry place.
The more you leave the water in order to avoid this one type of wave, the more you avoid all the other waves.
Everything becomes more shallow until you end up behind a screen in a cubicle or wear a police uniform.
The ocean is still there, still sending you waves. But you became an expert on not feeling anything, and probably spend most of your time inside your own head.
Short summary? Here we go...
You can’t be swimming with super-euphoria-tingly-joy when you don’t want feel tight-stiffy-anger.
The amount to which you repress one sensation represses the whole spectrum of sensations.
What you resist, persists…
Let’s say you do your best to never, eveeeer experience the experience of anger.
You really try hard by being very reasonable. You are not an angry person, you say.
What is actually happening?
You give power to the experience with your resistance. The resistance is causing you pain in the long run. The feeling stays in your system. It festers. Your resistance actually prolongs the sensation you don’t want to have. And, despite your hard work, your anger will show, over A LOOOOONNG PERIOD OF TIME, in petty, chicken-shit passive aggressive ways.
Radical Honesty on Anger
In a Radical Honesty workshop, we invite you to experience your anger.
This way, it can come and go… make room for new experiences.
By that we don’t mean
… acting out your anger,
… or controlling others with your anger,
… or making the world live up to your expectations,
… or blaming others for not getting what you want or getting what you didn’t want
We simply invite you to tell the truth about your anger in the simplest, dumbest way:
“I resent you for…” or “I am angry at you for…”
Scary stuff, he?
Fritz Perls said that expressing resentment for the first time, out loud, is like a nuclear explosion in your body. You are not used to this amount of sensations. But, if you dare to experience it, you bring back your overall aliveness.
So why express anger in the first place?
Because by practice we noticed that it seems to work better than the alternative.
You can sit in a cave for 5 years, alone, and meditate upon your anger. Or you simply own it, have a quick natural reaction, and get over it. This can be fun. And you might feel more of other kinds of sensations, like spontaneous appreciation or love.
I get it, you don’t want to hurt other people…
I tell you what: they are probably more hurt by your apathetic-pissy-prolonged-contact withdrawal-punishment than a short direct statement about your anger.
In fact, most people I know appreciate if you tell them the truth.
I know I do...
So anger is really not the bad guy.
Your mind, classifying anger as a “negative, avoidable sensations” is.