(Warning: This is a stream of consciousness post, also known as word vomit.)
I’ve talked about how I am always aware of how I feel and if I can’t figure out the root cause of a feeling – I dig until I do. Self-awareness isn’t just a fad for me. It’s necessary. When you grow up with abuse and mental illness in your genes, you either take control or get lost in the depths of fear. I’m a huge advocate of saying yes. Of experiencing life, no matter what. I own my feelings and let them run their course – even the ugly ones. I know what it’s like to deny my feelings, to try to drown them with glass after glass. Being self-destructive was how I got through anger and sadness when I was younger.
People make mistakes. People let us down. People use us for their own ego. People put us down to give themselves the illusion of feeling good.
We can’t control how others act. We control our own reaction, even when we feel out of control.
When I was younger, my way of taking control was being incredibly guarded and if anyone got close to the walls, I’d go with the trusted self-deprecation. I could go on and on about all the ways I put myself down, and maybe one day, when I finally write my book, you’ll get to hear those stories.
As I grew up, though, my way of taking control changed. Being guarded and closed off to potentially good experiences for the sake of avoiding the pain wasn’t worth it. It’s not how I want to live my life. I take the good with the bad, the pain with the pleasure. At the end of the day, I can say that I gave it all a try. I let love win.
Besides, people come and go. Experiences, both the good and the bad, are how we define our own strength.
There’s one feeling I absolutely hate, though. It’s one I try to avoid. If it comes around, I do my best to let it go. I know how poisonous it is and I know how it could easily consume me. Unfortunately, like everything else, it must be felt. It must be experienced. I have to let it run its course to learn my lesson and to feel that relief.
I get easily annoyed. I get frustrated. I get impatient.
That’s a rare feeling for me. The one that starts at the pit of your gut, and like a slow-burning fire, takes over your entire self.
When I decided to write about this, the first quote that popped into my head was the one we all know:
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha”
But the thing is – sometimes, we have to get burned. If I am feeling angry, that’s what I’m supposed to feel to process the root cause of that anger. It’s unfortunate, but the principle is the same as any other emotion: Telling someone (or ourselves) to just get over it doesn’t work. The longer we deny a feeling, the longer it holds on. Use whatever metaphor you want to but the fact of the matter is, like all emotion, anger must be felt.
I know that I also need to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t always about the other person because they may not even seek forgiveness. Hell, they may not even deserve it. Forgiveness is my reaction to the actions causing me to feel anger. But honestly? It doesn’t happen in an instant. Knowing that I need to let go of the anger doesn’t mean it will run its course any faster. The only control I have over that is to not let it consume me. To continue with my life, stay aware of my emotions and when the time comes, to forgive.
It could be tomorrow.
It could be next year.
So right now – I’m angry.
But I’m also satisfied, happy, loved, and grateful.
That’s the beauty of being human. We can feel conflicting feelings all at once, defining who we are at a given moment by choosing to embrace the positive ones as the negative ones run their course.