Anger is such a powerful emotion for me, it has dominated my life and caused untold chaos. I was so unsure of myself that I used it to create the person called Graham Phoenix.
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.
I was running the lighting consultancy in London I had joined some years earlier. A woman who was a senior member of the team came to me and gave me her resignation. This surprised me, I had not expected it. 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 my whole life was ruled by anger and 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, my demeanour and how I treated some members of staff.
She was a quiet, peaceful person who accepted whatever happened and would always respond negatively to any hint of anger. This was still a nasty surprise. I could not dispute what she claimed, I just needed to reflect on it and do something to change it.
I have written a lot on this site about where this anger came from—see ‘My Father Was An Angry Man’. The problem was that it was still with me after all these years.
The conversation with my colleague started me on a road to beat this destructive emotion.
I had tried ‘anger management’ but it just worked on getting rid of it. Whatever technique I tried the anger just buried itself deeper in my psyche. It rose up so quickly and violently that I was not able to control it till too late.
I tried journaling and recording when it happened and what the triggers were. I became good at recognising the triggers and trying to disable them. They just shifted and became even more subtle.
Nothing changed until 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 of my emotions. I meant that I had to work on each one individually 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 appears to work for a while but my shadow will always 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 in the same way my club foot is. 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 of blood pumping, headache, adrenalin and lack of control. The others thought I was serious and were 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 so easily create anger, I could as easily not create it. That made such a difference.
- What powerful, negative emotion do you experience?
- What is the effect of this on your life?
- What could you do to welcome it into your life?