Archives: March 2012

Anger Goes Down with the Sun

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Anger Goes Down with the Sun     Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Happiness Project, wonders “should you ever let the sun go down on an argument” and decides Yes!

     Arguments are anger expressed–think the earthquake scale, 1-10. I’ve never been much for arguing and I haven’t allowed myself to explore the hollowing and healing powers of anger. It’s been a “negative” emotion to work through quickly on the road to feeling positive and “happy.”  And I’m afraid I’ve been judging others using anger as a way to resolve their internal dialogs. I now understand. Anger etches it’s own pattern in the sands of our brains; and thoughts and beliefs we know to be true simply wash from beneath us like sand moving out with the tide. The shift in energy–and footing–makes for a powerful conviction of step. Anger makes you stop, take notice and declare an allegiance to yourself.

     Anger is good. Anger makes you strong, sharp and clear. Anger chisels away what doesn’t serve you; sculpts, molds and defines what thoughts now do. Anger is a motivator, a driver, an insistent, sometimes prickly nudge in a new direction. It turns upside down energy on end and demands you step in the opposite direction. Anger is GOOD on so many levels.

     And then, once you’ve polished and honed your beliefs and you’re rock solid again in who you are, anger is a needy emotion that can hang on too long. It’ll cling to you like cellophane so gently squeeze out or shimmy out, unroll out, or slice that wrapper open knees to nose;  but wiggle free and step aside. No need to express anger, you’ve left it, allowed it to be, walked away from it.

     Let the sun go down on it. Thank you Gretchen Rubin for the spin. Oh, and Sir Elton John as well. 

2. Do let the sun go down on anger.

I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.

Red Alert! Emotions on Guard

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Red Alert! Emotions on Guard     I’d been crying since I woke-up. I didn’t remember any sad dreams in particular, and yes, I was still dealing with the emotional fall-out of a four and a half year relationship that’d just ended, but to wake-up in such distress didn’t bode well for the day. Not to mention, it was 4:14 am. There was a lot of day left!


     Of course I was still sad about the break-up, but the feeling was beyond that. We had broken-up together weeks ago, both acknowledging time on our own, in our own skins, would be good. The transition was tough, and we missed each other terribly so we got together to talk…and somehow ended up further apart. And that’s where we are today, further apart, hence the tears.


     But this is bigger than sad; this is true emotional distress. My heart is demanding to be heard, “Red alert! There is something more you need to know, acknowledge, and understand. Red alert! Pay attention; tune in. Red alert! Honor this feeling, figure out the erroneous thought, and the sadness will go away. Red alert! There’s more to this feeling than you’re acknowledging.”


     Karla McLaren’s book, Emotional Genius, talks about the healing properties of all emotions—even the “bad” ones. (Ain’t no such thing as a bad emotion, is McLaren’s take.) Anger, sadness, depression, jealousy, hate, rage…all have a story to tell. ALL are expressions of thought. Change the thought and you can change the emotion. Make peace with it and you make peace with yourself.


     The two empowering thoughts that sadness brings attention to are: what must be let go of? And, what must change? Obviously WE are the thing that needs to be let go of. That was evident when we met—and that’s good. There’s no going back.


     But we didn’t part well. I was hurt, angry, feeling shutdown and misled. I’ve since gotten over those feelings, but something else has me twisted up tight. I want things to be okay between us. And they’re not. Not for me anyway. Something needs to change; someone needs to change, and that someone’s me.


     On some level I’m still holding on. Not to us, or even him, but more the thought that we can part amicably. I’m friends with all my Exes (mostly); he and I are suppose to be good friends. Before we got “involved” we promised. After all we’ve shared…


     And maybe THAT’s the thought that needs to change. If I simply accept that not all relationships end with friendships, that he doesn’t want to be my friend, or can’t be my friend, this sense of distress will go away.


     Or maybe this is my heart redefining friendship, “Red alert, you can still be his friend, even if it’s only in your own head. And, of course, your own heart.” 😉