ANGER AS FUEL FOR HEALING
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My late teacher, Niravi Payne, constantly ranted about how people in pain need to allow themselves to really feel their anger if they want to fully heal. Many of us have been taught that feelings like anger and rage are shameful, myself included.
Anger had always been an emotion I had been conditioned not to feel. “Nice girls don’t get angry!” And, isn’t forgiveness healthier? Niravi would say yes—except with the caveat that if we are still feeling the effects of trauma, loss, or wounding … if our lives, health, and gut, are a mess because of it, then leaping to forgiveness too soon can short-circuit the healing process. She suggested we apply the concept “compassion” instead. After years of avoiding my anger, and then, allowing myself to feel it, and finally begin to release it, I learned she was right.
What do you think withheld or suppressed anger does to the gut? Right, it stops the gut from working. Creating an extremely acidic condition in the body, this suppressed anger can lead to all kinds of illnesses, from ulcers to cold sores to migraines to immune system breakdown. As we learned in It Takes Guts to Be Happy our brain and gut are inextricably connected. Suppressing emotions, particularly anger, shuts down our ability to think clearly and live in the present. Instead, we exist in fight or flight. If we do this long enough, we can get depressed or hostile, and at the very least cranky and pessimistic.
Some ways to move this toxicity from your body follow:
1. Write three pages, uncensored, in your journal every day for thirty days.
2. Connect to a professional counselor or therapist.
3. Share the truth of how you feel with a trusted friend.
4. Write uncensored letters to those with whom you are angry, but do not send them.