Choosing Your Path
Let me illustrate this principle with the following diagram.
YOU MAKE ME ANGRY
You are responsible for my feelings of pain
You must do something to make me feel better
If you refuse to help me, I will resent you for the rest of my life
I MAKE ME ANGRY
You do not determine my response
I can choose my response and do what is best for me
No matter what you do, I am free to forgive and live life my way
The path you choose will determine where you end up. Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be angry all the time? They are so full of anger that the slightest provocation seems to set them off. The truth is, no one can “store” anger. There is no pouch or container where it can reside. So why do some get angry so quickly? While you cannot store anger, you can and do store memories. And if that memory is hurtful, the anger will come roaring back with that memory. Remember, feelings follow thoughts. So if you are constantly thinking about someone who has harmed you, your anger will always lie just below the surface, ready at a moment’s notice to come roaring out.
Holding on to anger is a lot like holding on to a hot rock. As you clench it tightly in your fist, ready to hurl it at the person who did that awful thing to you, you are in fact hurting only yourself.
This leads to what I consider the most dangerous aspect of anger, and that is resentment. Resentment is the recalling of a grievance that has happened to you in the past. This recall brings back to the surface the anger attached to it. And the stronger the memory, the stronger the feeling associated with that memory. So to heal your emotions, you need to learn how to heal your memories. And let me assure you that time does not heal all wounds. Many wounds are never healed by time, but only by forgiveness.