Monday, February 24, 2014

Laying It Down

Alexander Pope once said that to be angry was to revenge the faults of others on yourself. This isn't to say that people won't do things to hurt you or make you mad -- they will -- but to say that holding onto your anger and hurt has no impact on the person who wounded or angered you. It does nothing to them. 

But it does something to you.

I feel like I have to learn this lesson again and again. I am not quick to anger but I am slow to let go when I get there, despite the fact that I know -- I know -- that the only person that is being hurt by my continual review of all of the things that pissed me off in this particular situation is me. The person who made me mad? If s/he really cared in the first place, all if the junk that I'm carrying around with me would have been resolved differently.

The question, though, is this: why am I carrying this around?

I suppose that, if you carry enough hurt and anger about, it becomes highly effective armor. You can hide behind it. You can pile it high in your arms so that you are doing a circus-like balancing act and, as such, can't reach out to anyone because, clearly, your hands are full. You can string your hurt and rage into barbed wire and wind it around your heart so no one can get in. 

Or you can decide to put it down and let it go.

How you do that is up to you. I'm a big fan of saying out loud, "I am letting this go now," and then imagining what it would be like to set the burden down, because it is a burden to carry all of that with me, and I think I deserve no longer to be encumbered with any of it.

None of this, of course, should be construed as thinking that I will never be hurt or angered, or that those aren't valid emotions. I will, and they are. What I am trying to say, though, is that I don't want them to define who I am and where I'm going, and without putting them away and letting them go? They become a defining aspect of my character -- and frankly, there are many other things that I would like to see define me, like a warm heart and a ready smile.

This weekend, I realized: I've been carrying some things. It's time to put then down. I took a deep breath.

I let them go.

The feeling of lightness was immediate and amazing. Refusing to continue to lug that around made me a little more free. 

I think we could all use some more freedom.

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