Learn this from me.
Holding anger is a poison.
It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.
- Mitch Albom
First of two Decisions
Once we admit we have an Anger issue we face two critical decisions. The first choices are:
1. Decide to just live with the pain, the past and the anger.
This is the choice of those who are not really angry about their anger. They think that accommodating their anger is the easy and best choice. They don't see the problem as serious enough. Or they are afraid of the change, afraid of the work and looking for a false comfort.
2. Decide to build a better life without anger.
This is the the best choice over time. It will require some work and some minor pain but over time it will give you a better life. It is a choice that says NO to the lies we tell ourselves. Lies like this.
a. I can't really change, I'll always be this way.
b. I'm too messed up and should just quit.
c. It's too hard.
d. No one has the level of anger I have.
I know these lies. I've believed them. But I hope you won't. You deserve better.
SECOND of Two Decisions
The second decision involves what you believe about reality. And it comes down to these two beliefs.
1. My existence is an accident in a random universe. I only exist in this life. I must change myself when I want.
2. I exist for a purpose. I am eternal. There is a God who created me and gives meaning to my existence.
If you believe #1, then I likely cannot help you any further. My way to freedom from anger is based on acknowledging the existence of God's power in life. Self will-power will not do it. Setting a goal will not do it. We must seek help from a higher power. With that in mind, I wish you good luck. And I hope you will reconsider.
If you believe #2, then I can offer you what I've found. It's not something I learned from training or my degrees. I learned it while working through the mess of my life and learning from God's wisdom. For that reason, I'm not embarrassed to admit the fact that I wouldn't be where I am today without God's help.
(This is where I start talking about the role God can play in removing the power of anger. BTW, I will use male pronouns but that's just a choice I've made because God has no gender).
If you believe God is, then He must know everything about you and has a better plan for your life. But most of us stumble on the next question.
DOES GOD LOVE AND CARE ENOUGH ABOUT ME TO HELP ME?
That's a hard question and there are lots of reasons to wonder. I don't have space here to exhaustively prove He does love and care about you, but I hope you will trust me (for the moment).
The simplest answer to that question is that because you exist, you are not an accident. Thus God planned for you to be here and He cares for you because He always creates things He loves (even if they stray from His plans for them).
EXPLORING YOUR PAST
If God loves you and He knows your past, then you must seek His help in understanding it. He can guide this journey. But you must understand this key truth.
God created humans (and angels) with the power of choice. When He did that he introduced the risk that we would make bad decisions.
Those bad decisions are not God's desired choice. But He "allows" them to honor our personhood. And in a way that we can't comprehend, He uses them to achieve His purposes.
Our current reality is one where we (all people) make choices and we either benefit or suffer because of them. What happened in your past was shaped by your choices and the choices of many others. But God was not idling standing by and watching our pain.
God was there in the past and He used what influence He could (without removing our power of choice) to bring some good from it. But still bad things happened to you. Things you probably don't understand. And which may make you question if God exists or whether He is good.
I think the answer is Yes He exists and Yes He is good.
But when humans ignore Him, do unwise things and ignore His wisdom, we all pay the price. Ironically, we usually turn around and blame God for what "we humans" did.
So, we can choose to either blame God or realize that our power of choice is both a blessing and a problem.
That leads me to this critical next step based in finding freedom from anger. And it applies to your PAST.
To make peace with your past, you must be willing to explore it, see the choices you and others made (good/bad) and ask God to answer several important questions.
- "God, where were you in all of the good and bad of my past?"
- "What do I need to start doing now to reduce the number of bad decisions I will make in the future?"
- "God how do we work together to build a better life for myself and those I love?"
- "What future good will you bring about because of my past pain, hurts and mistakes?"