Love and Anger are two emotions that are central to how I live my life. On the one hand love is at the core of my emotional responses. It is either the lack of love, the desire for love or the need for love. On the other anger is such a powerful emotion for me, it has dominated my life and caused untold chaos. The desire, or need, for love is easy to confuse with the play of love in my life.
I love my wife. I love to be with her. I love to talk to her, to be silent with her. It satisfies a need in me. I know it satisfies a desire in me. Beyond that, we are like-minded people who have many similarities in our nature. We are passionate, exciting and comfortable together. We love each other.
Love, for me, starts with myself, with my ability to be comfortable by myself. The problem with basing my idea of love on my childhood experiences was that it did not take this into account. As a child I had a need for love, a need that was not fulfilled in the way I would have liked.
I have spent much of my life seeking this fulfilment and failing. It is not surprising it failed, I based it on a false premise. The false idea that a relationship would fill the void and solve my problems.
The answer was to start to love myself, to love every part of myself. It was good to start with liking myself but that was not enough. I needed to love myself in all my aspects; good, bad and ugly.
My wife was talking to me last night about taking baby steps in achieving a difficult goal. She told me the story of a woman in a wheelchair who hated her life. She became determined to change this and start to love herself. She failed at this until she realised that she had to start small.
She sat, in her wheelchair, in front of a mirror and decided to love her eyebrows. Next day she moved on to her nose, and so on. Over time she had a remarkable transformation—she started to love herself. Then she was able to move on and appreciate the love in her life.
Anger has dominated much of my life. I was so unsure of myself that I used it to create the person I was.
In the anger was confusion, hurt and a deep desire to know who I was. I was hitting out at those around me, blaming them for what I saw was wrong in my life. Anger was a powerful emotion that made me feel strong, even though it was an empty strength. I wanted those around me to bow down to my will and I knew no other way to achieve it.
When I was running a design consultancy, a woman who was a senior member of the team gave me her resignation. I asked her why and her response shocked me even more—it was because of my anger.
It was not that I was taking my anger out on her, it was that I ruled my whole life with anger. She could no longer work in that atmosphere. She said that it was part of everything that I did. My phone conversations with suppliers and clients and my demeanour were all responsible.
The conversation started me on a road to beat this destructive emotion. I took two specific steps. Together these altered my perspective on my anger, indeed on any negative emotion that I had.
The first step I learned from the Oneness University. It was to accept and embrace all my emotions. I meant that I had to work on each one and welcome it into my life.
My anger was part of my shadow, that part of myself that I disowned and hid from view. This appeared to work for a while. My shadow still had a tendency to jump out and claim its rightful part of me when I least expected it. Like me it felt unloved and needed to express this. Bringing my anger out into the open and accepting it as part of me was a transformational step. It ceased to have control over me because I acknowledged and loved it.
Anger will always be part of me and my life. It is hard-wired into me. It can still jump out and surprise me, but now I expect it and lessen its effect. It is no longer about the other person or what they do, it is about myself and that I now understand.
The second step I took at Tony Robbins’ ‘Date With Destiny’. One the last day I went through a process of integrating the changes I had planned for my life. I took the step of removing the sting from the tail of my anger. I stood in front of three other people and created my anger. I went into the centre of the emotion and expressed my anger. I created all the physical effects: blood pumping, adrenalin and lack of control. The others thought I was serious and they became worried about me. It took me a good half an hour to come down from the physical after effects.
I realised, as I watched myself go through this, that if I could create anger like this, I could not create it the same way. That made such a difference.
Looking forward I am committed to clearing my emotional baggage. I want to live my emotional truth. I will be open, honest and transparent in my dealings with other people, and with myself. I am committed to living true to the way I want to live and not live to meet the needs and wishes of other people.
I want to live in harmony with others and in community with some people, especially my wife. I will do this with emotional authenticity. I will be authentic about myself and let others live their life their way.
This may seem like a selfish way to live, it is not. Once I stop projecting my emotional issues on to others, life will be clearer. Once I stop seeing what others do as an attack on me, life will become easier, for me and those I am with. I will be able to live in my power and inspire people with how I live with myself.
Image Credit: Flickr/Patrik Nygren (Creative Commons)