Balance purpose, relationships, and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Six steps to work with your anger

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Image courtesy to PixabayI’m feeling angry. I’ gonna practice holding my anger with compassion and rehearse the lines Thich Nhat Hanh gives us: “Dear Anger, I know you’re there…. I’ll take good… F*ck… I… hate you being here!”

Hum. Not exactly it. Let’s try again.

“Dear Anger, I know you’re there… I’ll take good… You know what!!! I’m gonna ignore you. I’m gonna pretend you’re not here and continue doing what I planned to do, even though I’m shaking.”

Hum. Okay. That didn’t work either. Third try.

“Dear Anger, I know you’re there… And you know what!!!… I’m gonna lash out and yell!… Commitments and mindfulness practices, get out of my way, and let me go on my rant!”

My goodness, holding my anger with compassion and mindfulness is much harder than I thought. I feel shame that I have anger. I think I am a lesser person, because I don’t receive every remark, every action with insight and love, see them as an opportunity to deepen intimacy and learning. Oh my goodness, I think I am a failure on the path of mindfulness and Nonviolence.

Gosh, after all those years of practicing with my Sangha, and learning -even teaching- Nonviolent Communication, I still struggle to say: “Dear Anger, I know you’re there and I will take good care of you.”

I resist my anger, I don’t want to have it. Stephen Hayes has an exercise to work with anger ànd your resistance to it.

  1. Scan your physical sensations and put your hand on the spot, where your anger lives.
  2. Invite your anger to sit with you. In front of you, or next of you, far or close. Whatever you feel comfortable with it.
  3. Observe your anger: the smell, sound, taste, form, touch. Maybe it has an age, a name.
  4. Ask two set of questions. 1. What is the important message you have for me? What is it you want me to know about you? 2. What do you want me to do for you, so that you can relax and calm down, and let me live my life grounded in my values, dreams, and aspirations?
  5. When you are ready, do the same thing with your resistance, and ask the same two questions.
  6. As soon as you have a sense of completeness, bring your feelings back into your body and put your hand on your heart. Ask your heart which step brings you closer to your aspired future self.

Image courtesy to Pixabay

I have always found this process helpful being more at peace and whole within myself, and getting unstuck. I hope it helps you too.


You want help embracing your anger and your resistance to it with compassion and understanding? Contact me to schedule a free discovery session, 512-589-0482.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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