Do you label your feelings as good vs bad? Do you push away the painful and only welcome the pleasant? Do you offer each of your emotions and experiences the same amount of energy? Do you ever feel grateful for your anger?
For most of us, the answer is a simple no. We prefer to feel the good over the "bad". It can be said it's better to be in a state of positive emotional health, more than in despair and suffering. Still, a full range of feelings is an inevitable part of the human experience and each unique emotion has the potential to teach us something worthwhile. For many, we welcome positive emotions with open arms, and kick and scream when negative emotions such as anger, disappointment, and sadness, are felt.
If the end goal is one of acceptance and self-love, shouldn’t we have as much acceptance for our perceived weaknesses and uncomfortable emotions, as we do in our celebrated emotional triumphs and perceived strengths?
We can only truly be at peace with ourselves, when we are able to experience peace even in the midst of uncomfortable emotions. If we only accept certain emotions and sides of ourselves, we can’t truly say that we accept ourselves and our whole self. Love isn’t about “liking” all parts of who you are and every emotion you experience. Rather, it’s knowing and welcoming every bit of who you are, without judgement, or a wish for things to be different.
If you look at each emotion, especially the ones we label as negative, there is often a valuable lesson and positive side to them. Part of living a more enlightened life, is about recognizing the silver linings of our tougher moments and less desired emotions.
Take anger as an example, in all of it's complex forms such as frustration, annoyance, displeasure and irritation. Seen from a simpler perspective, anger can be explained as a wish for things or circumstances in a given moment, to be different than what they are. Anger can sometimes be one of the most destructive feelings when it gets the best of people.
It is possible, instead of wallowing in anger, to practice presence and awareness when it is experienced. Next time you feel angry, remind yourself to take three deep breaths. Then, rather than focusing on what is making you angry, focus instead on what is it you want to change or what you are are finding hard to accept in your present situation.
You have the power to listen to your anger, and to learn from it.
There are far more benefits of listening to your anger, instead of being swept away by it. Listen to the answers your anger gives you and see the boundaries that you want to expand. Soon you will see that anger holds a gift. It is the wrapping paper that hides the present inside.
So be angry, but then be inquisitive and see what the anger is telling you.
Get real, be raw and be accepting of what you dig up. Who knows, it might just leave you feeling a little lighter, more accepting of who you are, where you are at, and help your anger pass through you more quickly.
By Amy Booth
Amy Booth is a yoga and pilates teacher based in Brisbane, Australia, where she runs a riverside yoga studio, as well as a personal training business. Her passion lies in strengthening the mind, body and soul and sometimes the best way to do that, is to teach the dominant to step back, so the subtle can shine.
You can find out more about Amy, her studio and the worldwide retreats and hikes she runs below:
Facebook: Amber Tree Yoga and Retreats
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