If you have a problem, you are the problem.
It’s a bit of a controversial statement, I know. However, the reality that I live in is built on the presupposition that we are creating everything we experience. We’re perceiving it, so therefore we’re designing it in our minds. Fun neuroscience fact: there is nothing in our experience that is outside of us. Everything we’re seeing in the world is something that we have trained or conditioned ourselves to look for.
I’ve been asked before on numerous occasions, “How is it possible to live life the way you do – to be so easygoing? How did you go from being stressed out to mostly unf*ckwithable?” While I wouldn’t say I don’t have any problems, I would say I don’t have many problems, because I live by the philosophy of taking total responsibility for everything in your life.
In this paradigm there is no one else to blame because the buck stops here. It’s all my creation. Let’s look at how this relates to the emotion of anger. Anger is an amazing emotion when we understand it. When we approach it with curiosity and sincerity, we can gain a lot of clarity about ourselves and our current internal reality.
So often when something occurs that causes us to experience anger, we are quick to point the finger at someone or something externally as the cause. But I know that when I point the finger at someone or something else, there are always three fingers pointing back at myself.
Those three fingers tell me where to look and what adjustments to make so I can diffuse the anger. These three components will be there every single time we experience anger. So let’s break them down and discuss how we can use them to our benefit most effectively.
The first component is hurt. Underneath anger is always some hurt. It’s been said before that anger is the bodyguard of sadness. So for us to truly let go of the anger, we have to acknowledge the hurt that’s underneath first. We’ve got to honor that on an emotional level rather than rationalise it away like so many people often do. Only by allowing ourselves full permission to feel the hurt without the anger masking it can we actually release it.
The second aspect is projection. This is what I was referring to earlier when I was talking about pointing the finger at someone or something as the cause of our anger. That accusation is the projection because in some aspect of our lives, perhaps totally unconnected to the present situation, we are that – whatever it is we are accusing the other person of emotionally.
In that moment of accusation, our unconsciousness is attempting to call our attention to the truth and the only way it can is by hijacking our eyes and using the external world.
So, for example, when I’m accusing someone of not listening to me, I like to ask myself, “How is that true of me? Where am I not listening to me?” Whatever the accusation is, when we look with curiosity and sincerity, we will find an answer.
The third component present in anger is a call to action. Anger is not a passive energy. In fact, it is a fiery energy. So there will always be an action to be taken.
The action might be internal; perhaps we need to recalibrate something within ourselves. It might be an external call to action. Maybe we need to have an honest discussion with someone after we have diffused our anger properly. At any rate, there will always be some adjustment that needs to be made.
The most important part is to remember that we must allow the first and second components to diffuse before we come to the third part and decide which action to take. Use this approach the next time you’re wanting to acknowledge your anger (or annoyance, irritation, frustration – whatever word you choose to use to label your problem) and release it in a skillful way.
To learn more about how to un-problem your life, sign up for our free five day challenge Transforming Your Triggers.