People have told me my whole life I have anger issues. That I am argumentative, aggressive and easily ignited. And I believed them. I thought it was just part of who I am, part of my fire temperament. I tried all the things to try and diffuse the anger when it would show up but I couldn't help it, the anger would overwhelm me and I would either explode or withdraw.
But recently and with help of course, I have discovered that I've been lying to myself. That I had accepted a false narrative of myself because I hadn't the tools to work on self-awareness and discernment. But that has changed now and this is what I've learned...
Emotions are energetic teachers they are not who we are. Because I feel anger doesn't mean I'm an angry person. It means that I have a misbelief about myself and the universe is trying to show me this misbelief through messengers like circumstance and anger.
The thing about anger though, is that very early on in life I began using my visitations by anger as a defense mechanism because of the misbelief that it is not safe to be vulnerable or weak. It is not safe or lovable to be sad.
And so all these years of "anger issues" has really just been anger coming to my defense, so sadness doesn't visit. But this time, when they both came I decided I am now strong enough to be vulnerable and so I invited sadness in.
Emotions are energetic teachers, they come to teach us something about our beliefs about ourselves and others. Like a good friend, they continue to visit until our learning is complete and then again to test our mastery.
All these years of launching defensive mechanisms so I wouldn't hear what sadness had to tell me which is this: "You falsely believe you are not wanted in this world. You are wanted and loved because you are here."
But this time because I was given permission to ask Anger to hold off for a bit, to excavate and feel the pain underneath it, it was Sadness who I discovered deep down below. She's been sitting patiently alone with the misbelief of being unwanted for 42 years and felt relieved to finally be seen and invited in.
Sadness, though not the most fun guest, brought gifts of generosity, kindness and sweetness within a message of overwhelming despair. There is a sweet sadness in seeing and facing your false beliefs, your false self. And when Sadness departs as she always will, for she too does not like to linger, what's left is Truth and Expansiveness as her signature.
So next time I have a strong emotional response, before reacting, I will try again to pause and dig deeper. To uncover the programs imprinted on my psyche and find out what misbelief about myself the universe is trying to correct in me through it's most potent energetic messengers and teachers, through emotions. And then I will thank them yet again for the learning.
Be gentle on yourselves this holiday season, friends.
When you reach the station of happiness, be grateful.
When you reach the station of sadness, be patient.
~Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Haqqani (qs)