I want to share one of my favorite quotes from the Buddha:
Holding on to anger
is like grasping a hot coal
with the intent of
throwing it at someone else;
you are the one
who gets burned.
Developing the ability to release anger has been such a tremendous gift in my life. Because “holding a grudge” is expected, tolerated and sometimes even encouraged in our culture, I wasn’t really aware of the anger that I was carrying around in my back pocket – until my divorce.
During my divorce it came flooding to the surface, as every disagreement with my ex offered an opportunity to use past arguments like a sledgehammer. Sometimes we resisted the urge to argue and throw hot coals at each other, but all too often we succumbed, and paid a price.
When I finally noticed the toll that the anger was taking on me, I put it down and walked away. I didn’t care who was right or wrong. I didn’t need to convince him that I was a good person, that my perspective was valid, etc. I was ready for peace, and my ego was finally willing to “lose” any argument to feel that peace.
And so the arguments stopped. And I truly released my anger towards him, and have never felt the need to reclaim it. His actions may frustrate me at times, and I’m sure mine may exasperate him, but I know that he is trying his best as we all are, and anger at his efforts is a corrosive force with no benefits.
Now, without all my anger, I can hear more accurately. I teach more patiently. I give people the benefit of the doubt more often. I feel compassion more easily, and I trust more readily.
And now I understand that anger blocks your intuition because it obstructs your heart.
What is the first answer that pops into your mind when I ask: Who are you still angry with?
My next question is: What benefit is your anger offering you?