Recently, I had an experience with anger that made me realize how much it still terrifies me. Even after years of inner work, understanding and processing my own anger, I noticed that I still shut down, withdraw, and close off when someone close to me expresses their anger. This is a familiar experience, but something significant shifted this time.
For the first time, I could see myself in the experience, understand how terrifying anger feels to me, and what happens in my body when I’m exposed to it. Although I am yet to touch that part of me that is deeply afraid, recognizing this fear is a giant leap forward.
In the past, I would choke off any anger of my own, my throat would tighten, and my pulse would quicken. Thoughts would race through my head so quickly that I couldn’t capture any of them. I would go silent, tongue-tied, and ready to run away. Then, I’d admonish myself for not being ‘in control’ or not being able to find the right words.
This recent experience was different because I was able to have a conversation about it after the fact, safely, with someone I trust. This was one of the most healing moments I’ve had recently. It allowed me to let go of the experience and witness what was happening, rather than avoid it.
I’m sharing this experience in hopes that it may help others. We are all here to evolve and grow, and much of that growth happens one layer at a time, over time. So, if you’re feeling like you’re not where you want to be, or you’re beating yourself up for anything at all, stop for a moment and witness who you are being in that moment. Let yourself be a compassionate witness to your suffering. It’s the only way through it.
When I closed my eyes and witnessed myself in that moment of anger, I saw a young girl who believed that someone else’s anger is her fault and wanted desperately to be understood. Instead, her ideas and opinions were met with anger and shame, without any outlet for her own anger.
There’s always more to do here, but for now, I am being with this new awareness and allowing it to integrate into who I am with a shit ton of compassion for that young girl, and the woman she is and is becoming now.