The more anger
towards THE PAST
YOU CARRY IN YOUR HEART,
THE LESS CAPABLE YOU ARE
OF LOVING IN THE PRESENT.
- Barbara De Angelis
Understanding the power of the Past
It's crazy how much our past experiences influence our present life. And how often we are unaware of that influence.
What happens in the first 20 years of your life can still be impacting you 30 years later. I know because I have experienced it.
Here's my view of the 8 steps of the cycle we all go through toward anger.
1. We are born into a crazy world with both good and bad.
2. We have no choice about many things that happen to us. It just happens.
3. When bad things happen we have to figure out how to handle them.
4. We are not prepared for most bad things that happen. No one gave us a class on "How to deal with Pain". It happened and we responded the best we could.
5. Our best wasn't enough. We made mistakes. Few of us make good decisions when we are experiencing hurt, pain and doubt. For example:
-- We are abused and we blame ourselves.
-- Our parents divorce and we think it is our fault.
-- We are in pain and think we are the only ones or that we deserve it.
-- We lose a parent or sibling or family member and don't know how to grieve.
Why? Because we think our family, experiences and life are normal until we live a little longer. Then we realize how crazy it really was/is.
6. Plus, most of us think we have to be strong. Even if inside we are vulnerable and broken. But our pride won't let us open up. So we hold everything inside hoping it will go away. But it never does. We just express anger.
7. Or we act out our pain creating bigger problems. That's when we get into other abusive relationships, multiple addictions, crazy behaviors, self-abuse, or even religious legalism. And our anger grows and expands.
8. We tell ourselves lies to explain why everything happened. And we begin to believe those same lies which regularly feed our anger.
REMOVING ROOTS OF ANGER
Then one day we realize we have an anger problem. Rage, revenge, self-abuse and thoughts of suicide may be occuring. It's serious and we need help.
And honestly, that's the best thing that could happen!
Being honest with ourselves and our anger is the first step toward making positive changes in life and reducing the anger that had dominated our relationships and work.
But first, we have to acknowledge our PAST and it's POWER.
That's hard because 1) we can't change the PAST or wish it away and
2) it seems painful to even think about going back to explore it.
Maybe that's why we often like movies like "Back to the Future" or "Groundhog Day". Because in those movies, the characters get to go back and have a "do-over". They can "fix" the mistakes their parents made and they made.
In real life we don't get a do-over, be we get to change our future starting now.
And that means to grow forward, we have to selectively go backward and deal with the PAST. Deal with the pain, fears and beliefs that we have held.
I think of it as Making Peace with Our PAST.
That's the secret to removing anger in your life.
Because the roots of anger are always tied to our past and we want to stop it from affecting us today, we need to break the stranglehold all the things in our past that lead to our anger.
At this point we have several decisions to make.