“We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.”
The Big Book – The Promises
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Anger – A Tool Not a Lifestyle
Did anger ever used to sneak up and overtake you? Does it still sometimes? Learning to feel the full range of emotions means also learning what to do with them once felt…
Fear, rage, and shame. These were the dominant emotions in my home growing up.
I also recall a lot of shushing. People were “sleeping” [aka passed out], so shhhh. Loud emotions were squelched.
Healthy modeling of how to express anger I do not recall. Anger was at times downplayed or denied; other times fire-breathing and frightening.
So I am still fine tuning my anger-expressing skills. Actually even identifying and feeling anger. For me the learning experience is (a) how not to repress it– and (b) then what?
Recently I had the chance to see some progress not perfection in action, born of my spiritual practices.
Running late for work, my car wouldn’t start due to me somehow activating the anti-theft brake lock-down. (whatever that is…) I ransacked the glove compartment for the missing owner’s manual – which I now know lives in a mini sub-compartment out of sight, but in my frenzied state I couldn’t see it.
My neighbor suggested I get the spare key, and somehow attempt to re-set the anti-theft brake lock system [aka some kind of do-over, as I didn’t understand the mechanics of what was at play here.]
This is where things really started to derail. I dashed back inside, grabbed the spare key, raced to the car while juggling my belongings, and then suddenly the spare key was not in my hand. I just had it moments ago! I looked under the seat, in the console tray, in my purse, again under the seat, again in my purse, again in the tray. I got out and down on all fours peering underneath. Again the purse, the tray, the other seat…
Calmly chuckling at the absurdity of this situation was well beyond my capability at that point. A burning, churning ball of rage began bubbling up inside of me.
It was interesting to observe it, even while in its grip – knowing it would ultimately resolve but already late for work, I called a co-worker to hitch a ride. I said I felt enough angry adrenaline to lift up my car and send it hurtling down the street. She advised against that as I would probably hurt my back.
Ha. Ha. Very funny.
But even in my altered state, I muddled through in a way that would have been impossible before. The rage passed shortly after acknowledging it; I didn’t have to act upon it, or carry it. Before, I lived in a constant state of short fuse-ness. Frequently frenzied, mindless, and annoyed.
So what is different now?
I knew the frustration and annoyance I was feeling was with myself. (Thank you 4th Step that I could see my part in it.)
I temporarily shelved the agitation, and put it in perspective. (Thank you Serenity Prayer.)
And I went to work knowing all the while a peaceful and successful resolution was imminent, trusting it would be dealt with after. (Thank you Science of Mind!)
Fast forward to that evening, having hitched a ride back home, sitting once again behind the wheel in the parked car, rummaging for the key, when an AA friend called. A convo about insanity, what it’s like now, and suddenly the key was in the console tray.
Staying mindful, willing, keep trudging forward – that’s the key.
Do you have a healthy way to express a full range of emotions?
Which emotions are more challenging and which ones are easier?
Can you cite an example of how you handled uncomfortable emotions differently now than in the past?
In gratitude, harmony, and support,