“Anger is like flowing water; there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget. Stagnant water becomes dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.” ― C. JoyBell C.
I was browsing the internet and I found this quote, and it was everything to me. This year started off on a really great note for me, full of joy and happiness, and then I found myself falling into old patterns. You know the ones, you work so hard on yourself and you think you’re “cured” and then you get complacent and suddenly those old patterns creep back up on you. It happens with diet and exercise. Or with quitting bad habits. It happens with choosing unhealthy relationships. For me, right now, it’s happening with my anger.
The past keeps creeping up, poisoning my present.
I spent the last year feeling this huge shift in my body and my spirit.
Hurting. Engulfing. Expanding. Coming out of self-imposed shells and casings.
It’s why I started this blog. I wanted to document this experience of personal growth. I wanted to write everything down so that I could read it. Experience it. See the change of my thinking.
I wanted to be the person that could breathe into my heart, into love, and have forgiveness. I wanted to be a good person. The kind of person I could look up to. I haven’t always wanted to be that person. In the past I held grudges, I was vindictive, I even relished passive-aggressive acts of revenge. I am an extremely intuitive person and as much as that gift allows me to help others it also gives me great insight into people, their weakness, and the things that hurt them.
I would use that to cut others to the bone. I’d say things that I knew would hurt and hurt deeply.
I had anger issues.
I had impulse control issues. Had. I guess the proper phrasing would be “have” just because I do the work and I’ve done the work, just because these things have gotten better, doesn’t mean they’re magically gone. More like dormant.
Not all that long ago, I had a hair-trigger temper. I got angry about everything. And when I got angry (or hurt, usually it was hurt displayed as anger) I had a disproportionate reaction and I would go off. I never learned how to manage my anger in a healthy way and throughout my childhood and my young adulthood I felt like I wasn’t being heard. This caused me to act out even more to get a reaction. I began to associate that reaction to my anger as proof someone cared. I was an incredibly toxic person always looking for a reaction or trying to provoke a reaction.
Then I began to transform and I realized that path wasn’t one I wanted to walk down anymore. I didn’t want to be an angry hateful person who ended up pushing everyone away. I chose the opposite path. One of love and forgiveness.
Transformation doesn’t happen that quickly.
I need to remember that. I need to remember that I am unlearning 27 years of behavior. In my head, I was letting things go. I was letting go of the grudges I’ve been holding, of my hurt anger towards other people. I was learning to respond in a more mature way. The last few weeks I’ve felt that work unraveling. I have to keep reminding myself that I am learning. It’s all come bubbling up and I realize I don’t have my shit as together as I thought I did. (Isn’t that how it always goes?)
I think I’ve figured out what I was doing wrong. I’ve been reading a lot about forgiveness. And a lot of it has been of the vein of forcing yourself into it. I was thinking the right things, “I forgive so-and-so, everything is okay.” I thought I was dealing with that anger but what I was really doing was forcing myself to ignore it. I was turning a blind eye to it and telling myself that everything was fine.
In reality, there was a pool of anger and resentment building inside of me.
I’m still learning how to deal with these things. It’s not six months of work and you’re done. You’ve got to stay on top of those feelings. If something isn’t working you’ve got to seek new strategies. But most importantly, it’s important to acknowledge what you feel. I’d love to be one of those enlightened beings that just lets it all go – but I’m not there yet. I’m still learning how. I’m still walking the line between honoring what I feel and dealing with it in a healthy way.
So now I am sitting here with all of those feelings. As things painfully shift inside of me again. I know it’s going to be alright, I’ll get through it, be wiser for it, but right now I am treading the stagnant, dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, water, trying to keep my head above it all.
It’ll be okay.