Anger is just one station, not your destination (some thoughts about anger management)

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angerMany clients are asking me how to deal with their anger. And, as usual, the whole discussion is around the symptom, ignoring the real reason.
And by real reason I don't mean the event or the situation that made someone angry. The real reason has to do with self-confidence, self-esteem and self-evaluation.

Let's start from the beginning, anger is just an emotion. It's not important by itself. Thousands of emotions are passing through us every moment, most of them are just getting evaporated before we are even aware of them.
The non-logical animals also have emotions, fear, joy, anger, desire, but they don't hold on to them. We, with our "logic", are trying to hold on tightly to our emotions. We are also trying to control them. And suddenly, without any warning, we are angry and whatever we try we cannot relax.

So a little theory about controlling (we wish) our emotions.
If we imagine emotions placed on a straight line, we start from the ones with very low energy and a lot of noise in the head, apathy, sadness, fear etc. and we reach on the other side emotions with very high energy, like acceptance, inner peace and freedom.
When you are in a low energy emotional state, let's say you are afraid, suddenly, because of an external cause or a decision of your own, you feel your energy raising. You move to desire and pride and suddenly anger comes!
You are ready to go higher, change your energy, your mood, your life but then you have the worst emotion of all coming and blocking you, guilt!
You see, in all our social conventions, religion, morality, rules of society, of friendship or of relationship, anger is a terrible thing. Anger is unacceptable and dangerous.
The result is that after the thing that made you feel good, your energy raised and you felt alive again, you have to be again the good old person everybody knows. Peaceful, quiet, relaxed, or so it seems. In reality you are back to your low energy, to your noisy head and to the good boy/girl everyone loves. Full of fear, sadness or depression.
Congratulation, your anger is defeated. Or not?

In reality anger is still there, under the skin, poisoning you and everyone around you with cynicism, bad mood, meanness and unpleasant comments.

Let's see it metaphorically. We assume that you are at point A, sadness, and you want to travel to point C, inner peace, freedom. On your way is point B, a place where is more pleasant than sadness but not as good as inner peace. It is anger. You don't have any intention of staying there but it's just a spot on your way. But every time you reach this point, instead of going on to point B, you just return to point A. And this happens again and again.

Anger is not as important as they tell us. It's just a tool for survival and its duration, originally, is very short. In natural world it's a protection against intruders, anyone or anything that threatens you, often protects a moment of relaxation or sleep, something that your body knows it needs.
In our unnatural world anger is against imaginary threats and enemies, hypothetical disturbances and fictional dangers.

What can you do?
1. Relief work. Accept your anger every time you feel it coming. Don't judge it, don't fight it and don't share it, unless with someone you really trust. Imagine it getting huge and dangerous, imagine yourself really angry and slowly let it lose it's power. Oh yes it will, it always does.
2. Foundation work. Find out and expose all your imaginary fears and enemies, people or situations. Discover them, observe them and realize that they are not real. Because they are not. All these thoughts about events in the future, sometimes even in the past, are your fictional enemies. Watch them in your mind and try to find if there is a real reason to be afraid or angry (usually there is not, if there is take care of it).
3. Life work. When you feel angry and you manage to accept your anger and the guilt that goes with it, just move on. This is exactly the reason why you shouldn't share your anger with people around you, because they will try to make you feel guilty again. Just let your emotions do what they know doing and allow yourself to go higher.

Remember, your final destination is not to prove to anyone that you are a good person. Your final destination is to feel acceptance, free and in peace.

With love and acceptance (on whichever part of your way you are)

Antonis