Exploring beneath the surface of a reoccurring relationship issue can be tedious and scary. Seeing beyond a nagging health challenge to the ‘deeper issue’ requires courage, faith and trust.
Unwanted feelings and thoughts are rich territory to dive beneath the surface for fresh insights that open the heart. When we take the time to peel away the layers that have us stuck or paralyzed we reap the benefits of self-acceptance, compassion, and liberation from fear.
Let’s look at what may be underneath a chronic response of anger. Chronic reactive angry responses can disrupt relationships, derail important business deals, and cause high blood pressure.
Imagine for a moment that you are floating along on the ocean of feelings unwilling to accept that the choppy waves to your left signify anger. If you put on snorkeling gear and dive under them, you will see a whole new world.
Beneath the anger you will most likely find a hurt or a fear. Complete the following sentences with yourself:
**Each time I think of _I get angry.
**If I feel this anger, I’m afraid that _.
**When I feel this anger, I am hurt about _.
Remember, avoid assigning personal meaning to these feelings. (I’m such a terrible person for feeling and thinking this way. )
Just swim around with your snorkel securely in place, investigating the fear or hurt that lie beneath the anger.
Surface briefly and reflect about the role your anger plays. Here are a few possibilities:
**Anger is a shield that protects a part of me that feels afraid or hurt.
**Anger is a red flag alerting me to the presence of fear or hurt.
**Anger is a messenger. A part inside must feel afraid or hurt.
Now take a deep breath and dive again, looking next to the fear or hurt for a judgment it may have spawned, such as the following:
**If people knew I was afraid they would reject me.
**I’m pathetic for being afraid of this.
**Feeling hurt is weak and foolish.
**Because I feel hurt I am unworthy of love.
To further complicate opening our heart the mind adopts black and white thinking. Desperately needing to stay in control of life and make sense of the world, we resort to rejecting what we see as wrong (bad, inappropriate, immoral) and cling to what we see as right (good, appropriate, moral).
When the heart opens, making sense of the world is not as important as being happy, finding lasting peace, feeling healthy and stress free, and getting a good night’s sleep. Restraining from taking a position about the world, other’s behavior, our performance at work allows the heart to thaw out revealing depths of information that quiets fear and loosens the grip of control. We then can live authentically rather than self-righteously.
Questions for Letting Go of Black/White Thinking:
1. If I am judging my husband/wife/boss/ friend do I also judge myself in the same way?
2. Am I condemning my mistakes or lack of perfection because I am afraid of failing or being seen as a failure?
3. Do I judge anger (fear, sadness, caring, loving) as wrong in others because I see it as wrong in myself?
4. Do certain people get on my nerves because I’m afraid their behavior resembles my own?
5. If I want to be happy rather than right in this situation, what do I need to accept and forgive in myself?
Snorkeling can open the mind to what is really going on in our ocean of feelings. But only self-acceptance can uncover these truths and open the heart. Then inner fears can be comforted and judgments forgiven. Compassion replaces blame and shame, and we discover a place of peace and well-being beyond the choppy surface waters. Next time there is a challenge we can don our snorkeling gear with the experience of knowing that what lies underneath our anxiety is a safe refuge – our open, loving heart.
Rebecca Skeele, author of You Can Make It Heaven: How to Enrich Your Life with Abundance and Loving is an ordained minister. She has a MA in Spiritual Counseling and MSS in Spiritual Science. She has a private practice in Santa Fe as a life coach and counselor. Rebecca is an international workshop leader and speaker inspiring people to become masterful at cocreating their personal heaven on earth. http://www.makeitheaven.com