dealing with anger and hurt can be hard. there’s a time and place for these emotions, but the thing I’ve come to notice about them is that they take a very egocentric point of view when we allow it to take control for too long, and it can create an environment where those feelings can fester.
I have yet to really meet someone who says that they like being angry, but I certainly have known people that are easier to hold a grudge and have admitted their not one who easily forgives. if a bridge is burned, it’s burned for good.
in high school I used to really struggle with grudges. but as I got older, I realized that anger and un-forgiveness drained me – mentally, emotionally, and nearly physically. in my experience, it takes a lot more energy to hold onto anger, hurt, and bitterness than it does to try and let go; I remember that I would look for every little thing I could in someone or something that would continue to fuel my dislike towards them because I was simply determined not to like them. I would get worked up over the littlest things. it was exhausting, and I remember one day my mindset shifted and I told myself I was done living that way.
do I necessarily like admitting I was a hateful, bitter person? no lol. I feel like I’ve moved far enough past the person I used to be that it’s embarrassing to look back and remember who I was. however, it’s also important to note than personal growth is possible, even when certain emotions have come to feel like a part of who you are.
so what is this so-called quick way to deal with anger?
in my experiences with my phases of anger, all I could focus on was myself – how I felt, how I was wronged, how unfair it was – that the second I focused on something or someone other than myself, I could feel the burden of those emotions being lifted.
I have a few examples of this.
I remember way back when (it had to’ve been 2013 or 2014) I was going through a particularly hard time with some friends. it felt like there was something new every day that would weigh me down and work me up. I had time in between classes so naturally I was aimlessly killing time and stewing about it. at one point I passed by a girl who was sitting on the floor against one of the walls, crying. at first I walked past thinking “aw, I hope she’s okay,” until I heard a clear voice tell me to go pray for her.
um, ok God.
but I did. I turned around and went to her. I came to find out she was feeling painfully sick and she was having to wait for someone to come pick her up. so I sat with her, got to know her, and eventually prayed for her. I came to find out after that she had been struggling lately with knowing if there was a God – she knew there had to be some higher power, but she didn’t know who and she didn’t know what they were like, whether they were personal, passive; nice or mean. not long after that her friend came and got her, so she left, and I never saw her again. I don’t know if what I said or did that day had any impact after those moments, but I remember leaving feeling uplifted and no longer stewing about my own stresses and hurt.
in other circumstances when I feel like I’m being personally attacked, whether it be by another person or a slew of situations, I do a couple of things.
one is the obvious, that God would change my heart towards the situation. that I would have the wisdom to see it for what it is and have the hope that it’ll all turn out okay because I know that He is in control.
two is a little bit of a bigger pill to swallow, but when I feel like my anger is related to a person, I pray for them. sometimes it’s the last thing I want to do, but I found humbling myself in the midst of the situation softened my heart enough to look past myself and try and see that person and where they’re at through God’s eyes.
I’ve had to come to acknowledge is while others might wrong me in some ways, I am by no means without fault, either, whether it be in the current situation or a different one. the thing about being human is that we’re going to mess up, and so are others. it doesn’t mean that we have to be completely unbothered, but anger is a slippery slope that can lead to a lot of toxic emotions that weigh us down and possibly become a part of who we are.
I HAVE DECIDED TO STICK WITH LOVE. HATE IS TOO GREAT A BURDEN TO BEAR.
– M A R T I N L U T H E R K I N G J R –