How let go of anger and resentment – can anyone cope with the world these days?
How to let go of anger and resentment in daily life? Yes, there are amazing people who somehow keep it all together, at least in public, but you just know that inside they are one trigger short of a meltdown. People like that are all over social media. They look like great friends…until they rant themselves out, unable to really let go of rage and resentment. Really. Who needs more of that?
The point here is how to let go of symptoms of anger and resentment. Anyone who breaks things and hurts people isn’t part of this solution…yet. While they’re acting out, they’re just escalating the issue. Don’t we really want to get in front of the trigger with a new response, and do that in a way that makes it easy to let go of anger and resentment?
What Triggers You?
This starts when you know what triggers you, and that can take work. If it feels like you’re the only person in the world who doesn’t understand their own anger or resentment, you’re not: once, that was me, too.
There was a time when I honestly didn’t know myself. My first therapist told me I was angry, and I just laughed at him. But, with some work, that therapist got me started. I began to learn my anger triggers, and, very importantly, began to re-wire my responses. For me, the work was twice as hard, because I had to learn two things:
- What triggered me;
- How to really feel angry.
Weird, right? That really was me. Honestly, after twenty-plus years of practice, I’m better at it. When something makes me angry, I feel anger, and express it clearly.
This two-step process is one of the most basic hacks to life.
That’s huge, but I didn’t know there would be a third thing to learn: my anger wasn’t going away, but it would become a better friend.
A Useful and Safe Response to Triggers
Like you, anger isn’t usually a feeling I like to experience. I don’t enjoy the feelings of fear or sadness either, but when you think about it, all of them are part of how we human beings operate. Just for a moment, would you join me in a self-judgment-neutral view of anger, and simply allow it?
Whatever helps you call up real anger will be useful here. You can trust that this is also a safe and potentially enjoyable process.
Here’s how this is going to go down in three simple steps. Read them through first to get comfortable with the process before you actually try them:
- Go to a safe place where nothing will disturb you for about 10-15 minutes. Sit in a comfortable chair. Know that you are safe.
- Trigger your anger. Remember the last time you were cut off in traffic, or how someone else’s snide remark made you feel, or some world injustice that enrages you? Those are all good ways for me to call up anger, but I have a different suggestion: use music that really gets you boiling on a gut level. The more visceral you can get with your anger, the better. Remember that you’re still safe, sitting there in your chair, and that you are allowing this anger without self-judgment.
- Stay angry. Yes, I really mean that. Music allows us to safely trip our triggers and then sustain the anger for several minutes. Allow all the anger you can, sitting safely in your chair. The idea here is to isolate the feeling from the response, to be good and angry but not take any action because of it. Just be with the anger.
So What? Now What?
This practice – allow anger/feel it fully – began to change things for me. I learned how to befriend anger and resentment when I allowed myself to feel them fully, in safety, without judgment. For practice, I used music to trigger the anger and resentment and let the music sustain those feelings for a few minutes.
The best part? The anger and resentment left me just about as quickly as they arrived. I didn’t have to let go of anything!
In real life, anger and resentment triggers just happen, right? Stuff them away or short-circuit them before things get broken and people get hurt? That old practice didn’t serve me: I just got more depressed. Not anymore.
It took about ten years for me to trust this process, and now I use it often. Anger and resentment are just as intense. The best part? Instead of festering or morphing into depression, those angry, resentful feelings come and go quickly, and now I don’t break things or hurt people (or get depressed!) when I’m angry.
About That Music
That bit about music that really gets you boiling? Take a few minutes to scan the music you love for the one song that triggers the anger/resentment – that feels “best” for that feeling for you. It will be the song that makes your skin crawl, or flush, or prickle, or turn your guts over inside you. That’s how deep you want the response to be. Lots of free online tools out there for this! If you are new to streaming music, check out Spotify or Google Play Music; both serve up feeling-based playlists, but they give you more control of the results.
The Bottom Line
From the Tao te Ching and Epictetus to modern Stoic practitioners such as Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday, there are thousands of years of evidence behind the practice of “allow and feel fully.” The functional use of music to sustain this practice has been around for as long as there have been musicians. Now that you know, won’t you share this practice with other people, too?
How to let go of anger and resentment is just the start: because this practice works for every emotion, it is an essential life hack. Master it, and your advantage becomes unlimited. Rather than hold on to the dead weight of unexpressed feeling, that stuff will simply move through you, leaving you ready, clear, prepared to respond with strength and poise to whatever comes next.
Learn How to Let Go of Anger and Resentment
Think carefully: you may already know how to let go of anger and resentment. These skills are built-in, and they improve with practice. You can work alongside us to help supercharge your process. Contact us here.