“Why I Refuse to be Taken Hostage by My Anger” by Laura Lee Wood
Anger is a word I rarely use. Anger is something I rarely truly experience. In my mind, anger is something that feels innately wrong. I hate being angry. It distracts me. It saddens me. It impacts my mind, my soul, and my heart. And, the worst part of holding onto anger is that it often morphs into resentment, distrust, and the urge to retreat to avoid confrontation.
Despite the career I chose in law, I despise confrontation. In the past, I would retreat and bury my emotions so nobody experienced my anger. Not even those I loved. I refused to even allow myself to express it for fear of judgment, being shamed, and potential backlash. I understood the expectation of perfection which also meant that I kept my cool at all costs. No exceptions. I was a master at compartmentalizing my emotions to maintain the “perfect-on-paper” life.
Living with the expectation of perfection had its own consequences. It left me feeling disconnected from not only myself but also from those that I loved and treasured most. Eventually, striving for perfection came with very high costs. Not only a divorce, but very few friendships. And, the regret of missing my son’s childhood. It’s fair to say I needed a miracle of love to live the life I desired; Being fully present in every moment within all of my relationships, especially with my son. Nurturing, loving, and deeply connecting.
Over the past several years, I have worked with my coach to learn how to release my emotions so they no longer control me. So they no longer haunt me. So they no longer block my experience of joy and expression of love. So that I can shatter the shame around experiencing emotions. So that I can I love with an open heart, not a guarded heart.
Every day, I take a few minutes to let myself feel the heaviness on my heart. I cry. I shout. I use four-letter words. I write. Sometimes I even get in the shower and cry out loud as the water washes away the emotions I release. I allow myself to feel my heart so it remains open to love rather than allowing myself to rebuild the wall of protection. And, in doing so, I have also vowed to shatter the expectation of perfection in my life and live fully in my imperfection. My life isn’t perfect nor am I striving for perfection. I am on a daily journey of loving deeply and living passionately.
Over the few years, I have experienced anger on a deeper level than ever before because I’ve chosen to do so. I’ve discovered the consequences of burying a lifetime of anger- which only breeds more anger, resentment, and hatred. Looking back into my intimate relationships, I reflected on how often I became angry about my partner’s behaviors, words, actions, or omissions. The times I didn’t express my anger to my partner only came back to hurt me even more because the anger deepened over time and it created distrust, jealously, insecurity, and a feeling of insignificance. I held on to that anger for far too long. And, I allowed the default of building a fortress around my heart to take over. The result was that love no longer flowed naturally, and the relationship ended. It was painful. I was sad and angry. Worst of all, I knew my anger distanced me from loving fully.
I’ve learned how to give myself full permission to be angry. Every day, I make a conscious choice to no longer bury my emotions deep inside because I refuse to allow my emotions to hold me hostage. So instead of resisting the feeling of anger (or any other powerful emotion), I allow myself to observe the anger and peel back the deeper layers underneath to understand why these experiences feel so painful. Instead of judging how I should feel, I allow myself to experience the anger fully.
When I peeled back the layer of darkness underneath my anger, I uncovered true heartbreak, disappointment, and sadness. Anger doesn’t just disappear overnight, but it loses its power over me the moment I experience and release it. I am no longer a hostage trying to smooth over the emotion and pretend life is perfect. Facing the emotion and allowing myself to be fully present with my heart and soul is a freeing experience for me. The best part of it all is that I can get back to loving and living with an open heart.
Releasing the anger allowed me to feel a calming sense of peace and love again. With love, you can forgive. With love, you can open your heart for the miracles of love to flow in. With love, you can be fully present. With love, you can create the life you desire. With love, you can attract remarkable people into your life. By giving love, you will receive it in return.
By holding onto powerful emotions, they control how you experience love, connection, and intimacy in every relationship. Whether you see love in others or whether you perceive distrust in others. Whether you experience joy or allow sadness to consume your thoughts. Whether you allow heartbreak to heal or whether you live life with a guarded heart. Your emotions can hold you hostage. Trust me. I intimately understand. I once was a master at compartmentalization but now I am living my life without the expectation of perfection and without the weight of old baggage I left behind. The choice now is yours- face the emotion or bury it. For me, facing it brings me back to love. And, freedom. What will you choose?
XOXO, Laura Lee Wood, Courtship Expert & Global Love Mentor (www.LauraLeeWood.com