Hello SOTGC community,
I was sitting in my mother’s living room this past week, visiting with her and my “Auntie” Irene. Irene isn’t my aunt by blood, but she and my “Uncle” Chris have been best friends with my parents for more than forty years.
At one point in the conversation, my mother became somewhat unglued. She sat upright on the edge of the couch, and with forceful arms, and even more forceful voice, she began her rant. To watch it was quite uncomfortable … she was aggressive and red in the face, and I felt bad for Irene.
To make a long story short, Chris had dangled a carrot in front of my brother’s face for months, and then never let him eat it; the carrot was a job. While this was just another reminder that it is best not to mix business with family or friends, we were all very disappointed at the way that Chris had handled the whole situation (not the least of whom was my mother).
Since Chris and Irene are divorced, the issue never came up between my mom and Irene, her best friend. My mother was harboring this anger at Chris, and I suppose she felt the need to let it out.
The whole experience reminded me of a great Buddhist quote: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
If you think about this for a moment, it is absolutely true. When you hold onto anger, the only person that gets punished is you.
I watched my mother become furious while telling her story, only to relive the experience again, and put her body through the unnecessary toxicity … rapid heart rate, a guaranteed rise in her blood pressure, increased cortisol (the stress hormone) coursing through her veins … and for what?
While the irate energy was clearly directed at Chris, it was my mother who was the recipient of all of the negative effects, and poor Irene was subject to the ripples from the wake she left behind, somewhat akin to breathing in second-hand smoke.
Being angry is okay, but it becomes problematic when it is not a fleeting emotion. Far too many people hold on to feelings that do not serve them, not the least of which is anger.
Are you holding onto to any anger that perhaps you could let go of? Take a few moments to ask yourself that question, and see what comes up. If the answer is yes, just know that no matter what situation, event, or person, has left your blood simmering, YOU have the ability to turn off the heat, and move on.
Remember, when you decide to stay angry, the only person that gets a dose of that poison is you.
What helps you let go of an angry situation? Tweet me @ModernWellbeing … I’d love to hear your ideas!
And, if you know anyone that might need a little anger detox, please tweet, like, or share this post on LinkedIn!!