When I was younger, the way I dealt with things was to be furious.
It eclipsed everything: it tore through me, leading to a quiet blaze in my heart every time I thought about someone I disliked; it burned through my veins and refused to leave me until it had made everything numb. Nobody knew because I hid it; I stamped it down, as hard as I could but some things couldn’t be completely subdued.
To people that saw me, it would surprise them to know that: I was a pacifist, both then and now, but the difference between those two times was that back then, I was prone to wild bursts of fury in my mind. Now, I know how to deal with it: I’ve learned, over the last year, that having uncontrollable bouts of anger only leads to people getting hurt.
Although it was a gradual process – from upsetting people with how erratic I got sometimes, to going through a lot of thoughts and remembering that angry was not what I wanted to be – there was one situation that defined why I hated anger and why I, at that moment, decided to tell myself to avoid it at all costs. That situation happened 6 months ago, and it was when I was cheated on by my last boyfriend, with a friend who I respect very much.
Without going into too much detail, it was the thing that really made me take stock of who I was as a person. I knew that the way I reacted to it would shape my attitude for a long time to come: would I scorn what I had with him, or remember what I had and not dismiss it as worthless? How I responded to it is one of the things I’m proud of myself for; it happened at the perfect time: a year prior I would have been consumed by hurt and plain anger, unable to see reason. This time, I had gone through enough development to know that that would have been counter-productive, and upon realising that, I made the step that has outlined how I act 6 months later.
I knew that I could have been furious; it would have been easy to tell them I never wanted to speak to them again, that I was hurt beyond belief, but it would have been a lie. Tearing apart such good friendships is not worth the release of that anger; I had to be careful that I didn’t let my wild emotions get the better of me.
I thought it through. Yes, they had hurt me, but was it really their fault? No. They were doing what I may have done in that situation: they were happy; I had come to terms with it as a possibility and when it happened, it actually calmed me to remember that they were human, I’m human and it’s good for humans to do things for themselves. People thought that I was too easy on him and her, but I saw it as me understanding that it wasn’t a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ kind of situation.
My anger would have been justified, perhaps, but it wasn’t for me. It would have perpetuated a slide into even worse mental health than I experienced after that, but I would have been burned out. The fire inside me would have just blown out from the energy I spent being bitter and infuriated; it solved nothing, because they were amazing people. I grew stronger by knowing that I could save up that energy for when I really needed it.
I’m still not perfect. I get angry but it’s a rational anger; I now know when to tone my feelings down and think: “Is this sensible? Are you thinking things through entirely?” Maybe sometimes, a little anger is necessary, but I don’t let it overtake me any more.
Experiencing so much pain can actually turn out positively for you. It hurts so much at the time, but remember that you aren’t ruled by it. There are always multiple sides to a story and it’s difficult to keep that in your head, but acting rashly can lead to so many bad consequences. You can’t do it all the time – I certainly can’t – but whenever I start to feel furious, I remember the time when I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe and afterwards, I thought that my tears and emotions weren’t a weapon to be used to hurt people. They were a way to heal myself.
Thanks so much for having me on this blog! I love it, and writing this post has really made me think about who I am. If you ever have emotions you can’t control, don’t beat yourself up for it: my situation taught me that everyone’s human, and one person’s flaw is another’s way of getting through life.
Love from Elm 🙂
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