When someone we love hurts us we usually react with anger instead of compassion….this is completely normal but not always the best scenario.
We have gone from…
I don’t dare speak. I will muffle my feelings and shut down my voice.
I don’t give a damn what you think I am going to say how I feel right now – rage and all.
Both sides of this pendulum are extremes and not in service to our greatest power. Now is a time to be aware of this pendulum swing and do our own individual work to bring things into balance. This is not a 1,2,3 process but more of a tuning into our self before we speak. It is a dance of sorts.
For both my clients and for myself, I have learned that being with the anger on your own (vs processing it on the person they were in conflict with). This step makes sure we don’t spiritually bypass the icky stuff and feel it. Kickboxing, screaming, punching a pillow, and stomping or dancing with our emotions are some ways to be with anger. Or, just STOP and use the 3 second rule and think will this matter 5, 10 or 20 years from now? This part is important and can’t be rushed.
Once that anger has received attention and been allowed to move through your body physically, you can sit with the next piece. What is the message anger has? What does it want you to know? For both my clients the anger was an indicator that something felt “off” and they needed to speak on it. And for both of these clients, “the dance” was about being able to speak without lashing out.
This is the tricky part….
Because when we are angry, we often want the other person to hurt or feel shame, to seek justification, to feel vindicated that we were wronged. Once you move through the emotion, you can get to an intention that serves a higher purpose.
Can we own what we are feeling as right and true and also be able to speak that truth from a place of openness and compassion for where the other person is coming from? This means letting go of our story about why we think a person said or did something to us and instead being open to hearing what they have to share once we have spoken from our heart. Speaking from the heart means taking ownership of how you feel and a willingness to also stay connected.
I felt really hurt and angry that you didn’t call on me when I had my hand raised in your classroom. I wanted to speak and that is a big deal for me because I don’t normally share.
Thanks a lot for not calling on me. Clearly you don’t care about what I have to say. Do you have a problem with me? You are a horrible teacher and shouldn’t be working with students.
As we come into our power and voice, we must learn to be rooted in our center (standing tall and firm) while also having an open heart. This is compassion and strength in action. Especially when we can give the other person compassion and a way to respond, make amends, or offer solutions for the future. What can start off as conflict can result in more connection.
NOTE: For some situations, sharing with an open heart is not the right approach; for instance, an abusive experience where your were violated.
But if ultimately you want to create more connection and less division, have more compassion for yourself and others, and feel empowered, take a look at the approach of leaning into a courageous conversation.
The next time you feel angered by another, try this…
- Let yourself feel and move the anger somewhere where you can let loose. This might mean you can’t BE with the emotion right away. Like if you’re in a meeting with your boss or you’re at a restaurant with your partner, you might need to come back to the emotion that evening or later in the day. Move the anger however you need to (stomping, kicking, screaming into a pillow).
- Let Anger have a voice through writing. You can let it ALL out on the page. No one will see it. Write every nasty, dirty, mean thing that anger has to say. Once you have it out, you can rip up the paper to both release the feelings and be at peace knowing no one will find this private journaling.
- When you feel ready, meaning some of the anger has moved and there is less “charge” ask yourself to write about what’s underneath the anger. Usually there is sadness, fear, and hurt. Let that have a voice too.
- Finally, decide if you want to share what you are feeling with the person that angered you and what your TRUE intention is. (If your intention is to blame, hurt, or be right, there is more inner work to do. When clear on your purpose for the conversation, practice standing tall and feeling in your power while also opening your heart to lean into the conversation. If a boundary has been crossed – be very clear on what that boundary is and state it. If you are hurt, share it. If you are angry, share WHY you are upset and what you see as a possible solution to move forward.
One of the things I’m trying to practice in my own life, is the idea that when I feel hurt or angry by someone I want to be in a relationship with, that person may not get a “pass” for their action (I won’t be silent) but I can speak to them with a voice of comPASSion. I am also practicing this with myself. I can speak to myself in an angry or belittling ways or I can speak to myself with compassion. Belittling creates more conflict, compassion creates more connection.
Here’s to your powerful and compassionate voice.
Felicia Grant is a Certified Advanced Soul Coaching® practitioner trained by International Author Denise Linn founder of Soul Coaching® International.
Helping women ignite their passion!