Anger and fear go hand in hand. For many people, anger masks fear, because it feels more empowered. For others, anger is something to be afraid of. Either reaction ultimately takes us out of our power.
As I said in my previous post on anger, anger is a call to action. The trick is in figuring out what action we are being called to. If the anger is masking a fear, it is vital, if we are to move forward, that we identify the fear.
Fears survive in the darkness – if we can put a name to them, they frequently dissipate, because fear is an illusion. Specifically, fear is the illusion of the absence of the Divine. I’m not talking about caution, healthy respect, or awe; none of those are fear.
Fear, it has been said, is ten miles high and ten miles wide, but is paper thin. But we can only know this by walking through the fear. And fear is such a strong, visceral emotion, that it’s really easy for us to manifest what we fear the most – that which you focus on, you feed, because energy follows focus. Once we identify the fear, we can use the oomph of the anger to power us through the paper wall.
If we fear our own anger, on some level we fear being powerful. Children who are taught that anger is a bad thing are really being taught to “keep sweet;” to allow others to control them and to not make waves. As previously discussed, that frequently leads to rage.
The reason anger can be so physically uncomfortable is because we don’t do anything with it. What we identify as anger starts with a strong chemical reaction in the body. This chemistry is similar to the fight-or-flight reaction, in that we can draw on it to power our actions.
When we fear the anger of others, we actually fear how anger is expressed. If people around us as we were growing up had unhealthy ways of acting on their anger, the emotion probably elicits actual terror, because the expression has gotten jumbled with the emotion itself in our heads. As we shift our own relationship to anger, and learn to use it as a positive tool, that fear will fall away, because anger will no longer equal violence, in words or in actions.
A good place to start to shift our relationship to anger is by focusing on the chemical reaction. That chemical reaction is going to produce a physical sensation. Figure out where in your body it is centered. Keep bringing your attention back into the physical. Is the sensation hot or cold? Dull or sharp? Tight or loose? Steady or throbbing? Empty or full? As you do this, you take the judgment out of it, and you process it from a place of neutrality. It is neither good nor bad, it just is. Your head is going to want to interject, to make a mess, to distract you; just keep bringing your attention back into the physical.
Once the chemical reaction has subsided, you can bring your head back into it. Does anything need to be done about the thing that triggered the anger? Usually not. Are there blocks or challenges the anger can be used to break through? Is the anger reaction even based on the here and now, or did something in your present remind you of an older, deeper wound that needs healing?
If you’re looking for more hands-on help in shifting your relationship to fear, I offer a monthly workshop in Newhall. Please join us!