We watched Grey's Anatomy on Tivo tonight and one of the story lines, or maybe the whole undercurrent of the show, was about anger and resentment. As I often do with tv and movies, and almost always with Grey's (it's the narration that pushes me over the top), I used the show to cry real tears about real things. The story line about the father dying of kidney disease and his angry adult son who was donating a kidney for money, illustrated by a conflict between Izzy and Alex, well, it made me cry - or its resolution did. There were no words. There was just a dad lying in bed on oxygen and a son in a wheelchair crying, and I could feel the pain and the relief that he "felt" because he was letting his anger go.
I get angry sometimes, too often perhaps. A previous boss, when presenting me with an "Employee of the Year" award in front of our entire organization, said (among many wonderfully complimentary things), "she is great to work with, but don't cross her," and then gave the crowd a scared/crazy look. I took it as a compliment.
For me, anger is usually about trust and betrayal. Let me give you an example of the range of things that make me angry:
Me: You betrayed my trust because you made out with another girl. You lied to me.
Ex-boyfriend: Huh? Oh.
Me: You betrayed my trust because you said you were going to wear blue today and you're wearing red.
BH: I did? I forgot. I'll change (into blue).
(This conversation usually continues on from here, but it's unrelated to this topic. Me: Don't change. You're only changing because I asked you to, not because you want to change. I know, it's an unwinnable circle that I create, and that makes me angry too, so I guess it's not totally unrelated.)
Perhaps it is partly a function of having a strong memory or an obsession with knack for details, but I am still angry about things that people did to me years ago. And it's usually people I love who make me the most angry, which I suppose makes sense. But boy does it feel good to let anger go. So much wasted energy to put into more valuable things, like blogging and reading other people's blogs and making lists, and cleaning email out, oh, and love. Loving people, loving things, eating, breathing, sleeping.
So, I challenge you: Pick something you're angry about right now - large or small - and just let it go. If you're angry at someone, you don't need call them and forgive them or anything crazy like that, just do it for you. You don't need a why, because, or resolution either.
Here's mine: I'm going to stop being angry at myself for staying up way too late to function properly the next day, especially when I'm not feeling well - at leat for tonight. And now I'm going to go to bed, so I can stop obsessing about how I shouldn't be angry at myself for staying up too late, because I just told you I wasn't going to be angry about that anymore. This isn't as easy as they make it look on tv.