Forgiveness is a tough one. I have to work at it diligently. When I feel resentful, angry, slighted, invisible, disrespected, attacked, forgotten… I usually turn to anger, which feels good and energizing and powerful in the moment. I feel like I can stand up tall again; the world will see me and how important I am. They won’t do that awful thing, ever again!
I use anger to feel better about myself when I am hurt. And we all have lots of opportunities to hurt: snarky sarcastic teenagers, terrible drivers, forgetful parents, ex partners who forget their responsibilities (it turns out that even court-ordered child support can be blown off), demanding bosses who aren’t realistic, etc. When enough of these happen, and I am not taking care of myself (sleep, exercise, food, water)…
I sometimes stand up tall and get really angry, my blood really does get hotter, my head sometimes lifts off of my shoulders, my eyes actually bulge out sometimes, and my voice goes up an octave. I think I am the wolf. I am not present. I am not in my skin. I am not even in this stratosphere.
At first, I might mutter about 50 miles an hour and swirl around my house, cleaning, straightening, whatever helps me to feel more like a martyr. That really helps me get whipped up- housework. Then I let it rip- I rail, I (subconsciously) know the words to use that will sear the hottest deepest wounds. It all comes out. I am angry, disrespected, resentful, and nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. But I am powerful, so powerful in this anger! For about 15 minutes.
Then I feel terrrrrrrrrible.
“Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back- in many ways, it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.
-Frederick Beuchner, Wishful Thinking
How can we be present when we are busy feasting on ourselves? Eating out own hearts? We have to take care of our anger if we are to have inner peace. Those wounds will drive us to eat ourselves unless we deal with it in a healthy way- friends, counseling, physical exercise, journaling, find your way to drop the face of anger. Leave the wolf outside.
I am actually very weak and susceptible to anger. I have to use forgiveness and prayer. Lots of both.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Action Item: Journal this morning about the wolf. What does she feel? What does she do, and what makes her snarl the most? What can you do to take care of it?
Visualization: Tell that wolf that you love her, and will care for her. Listen to her, and then let her know it is ok for her to go lay down and rest. Then you go take care of her.