Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else — you are the one who gets burned.
As always, Buddha has a valid point. Anger burns.
If the coal is so hot and painful, why do we keep holding onto it? Why do we have such a difficult time letting go of something that is hurting us?
We seem to think that if we hold onto anger, just long enough, that it will eventually hurt the person who hurt us.
But guess what? It doesn’t.
Holding onto anger never ends in victory. But you know what does?
Holding onto anger doesn’t make you courageous. You know what takes real courage?
Yep, forgiving is huge. Anyone can be angry, and stay angry. But it takes a true warrior to let go of anger and truly forgive.
How To Let Go Of Anger: 3 Ways Of Letting Go
1. Feel fully
In this article, there is one thing we would like to emphasize — feel.
Having the courage to rise above anger and let go does not mean becoming numb to the pain of anger. In fact, because many of us think this way, we tend to stay frozen in the same moment of pain (for sometimes our entire lives) because we don’t allow ourselves to fully feel it.
Stifling your emotions is like putting them away into an incubator, for them to grow and leak (or worst, burst) out at another time.
It’s also important to note that our emotions aren’t just stored in our mind. Sometimes, we believe we can think away an emotional wound. But really, these painful memories are oftentimes stored in our bodies (not just our minds).
So, what are some ways you can feel fully?
Cry it out
That’s right, we said it — cry. We are tying crying and courage together because they are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, according to biochemist at Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, Dr. William Frey II, crying out your negative emotions releases harmful chemicals build up in your body due to stress.
Crying is a great way to learn how to let go of the past and any pain that may be stored in your body from it.
Did you know that stress/sad tears actually contain different chemicals than any other type of tear we produce? Stress/sad tears release substances such as prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormones, the endorphin leucine-enkephalin, and most notably, the stress hormone cortisol.
Here are many other surprising benefits of letting go via tears. You don’t even need a “legit reason” to cry; just curl up with your most trustee pillow and bellow away.
Release, breathe, ahh….
Expressing your feelings via a creative outlet not only allows you to fully feel and let go; but also creates some of the most beautiful, touching art. Whether it is via writing, painting, or trance dancing in your room; a creative outlet can do wonders for letting go.
These creative outlets are a beautiful, physical manifestation of you releasing something painful. And when others witness you letting go, it inspires them to let go, too.
It’s a win-win-win.
2. Change perspective
It’s oftentimes easy to get caught up in our current train of thoughts. For that, it can be helpful to shift our perspective, even if we just do so slightly at first.
Imagine yourself in the future
Sometimes, it helps to imagine yourself in the future. What would your future self think about you holding onto this hot coal? What will the burn marks on your hand represent?
What type of person would like to look back on and be? It’s only in this present moment that you can change your future outcome.
Also, if you can imagine yourself at least 10 years in the future, it may help you with comparing your current worries to the grand scheme of things.
As Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley and author of Mindvalley’s life-changing Becoming Limitless (where he teaches the immense power of forgiveness, among many other soul-opening lessons) program says:
Hack your past with forgiveness. Hack your present with mindfulness. Hack your future with ‘I AM ENOUGH’.
3. Practice Compassion
Nothing dissolves anger like compassion.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
When we realize that the other person is most likely dealing with their own personal suffering, it can open our hearts back up.
When we breathe in compassion, we can breathe out anger.
If you’d like to understand this type of compassion for those who have hurt you deeper, read our article, How To Treat People Who Hurt You: Tapping Into Your God-Self. In it, we explore this beautiful quote by Neale Donald Walsch, beloved author of Conversations With God:
I have sent you nothing but angels.