Stop Putting Your Anger on a Hanger

“Deep hurt. Longstanding resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatreds. What’s the use?” This is the probable cause of cancer according to Louise L. Hay in her book “Heal Your Body. The subtitle is: “The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them.” I recall ordering this book just before I was diagnosed with cancer.

My body had been ravaged with strange rashes, painful joints, and lethargy. I sought out an internal medicine doctor who almost diagnosed me with lupus. After the labs came back negative, the findings were inconclusive. I had chalked it up to being a new, tired mom. It wasn’t long after the bout of inflammation, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Looking back on myself from where I am at now, my heart aches for that woman. She was a very angry person back then. The deep seed of resentment had been planted in her right breast long ago. But because she put everyone else first, she was too a afraid to give voice to her feelings. She didn’t realize that it was okay to be angry. She wasn’t aware that in order for anger to resolve itself, she needed to find a safe space to release the anger in a healthy way. She had subconscious thoughts like: “I’m not worthy.” “I don’t count.” I don’t deserve love or joy.”

The consequences of this belief system created a default in me to put everyone else first and myself last on the list. Additionally, I resented anyone who wasn’t aligned with my own beliefs. I realized that I had very few boundaries. As a result, I was living outside of my body. I was living outside of my life. I was caught up in trying to live everyone else’s drama. I was busy trying to hide my myself. I was ashamed of my life. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I wanted to disappear. I wanted to die. I had thought many times, subconsciously and conscientiously: “What’s the use?”

Sadly, my condition was hard to see from the outside. By all accounts, I was holding it together. I had romanticized the role of being the martyr. And I found plenty of social validation to support this default. No matter what people did or said, I was going to kill them with kindness. Turns out I almost killed myself because I was so out of tune with my own health and my own needs, I didn’t see that I had a tumor in my breast until it was almost too late.

Hanging on to my anger caused me to stock up on any “hurt” I experienced to support a personal story that was emotionally bankrupting me. Abandonment: that fit. Betrayal: that fit. I sought out relationships that were sure to generate these experiences. And I hung on to these experiences until I had nearly buried myself. Fortunately, I realized that it was time for me to make a radical change. I needed to take my anger off the hanger and let it go. I was angry at the world but mostly, I was angry at myself. I was so focused on hating who I was and hating who I was going to be that I couldn’t even be in the moment to see how devastated I was feeling.

One night in my broken heartedness, I went to sleep with tears quietly streaming down my cheeks. I was so weary and hopeless and thought, “Yeah, you are so tragic. Of course, it ends like this.” Then, a warm golden light came into the darkness. It whispered soothingly to me: “Yahweh.” It was as if I were being lifted and drawn into this light. It was pure. It was beautiful. It was unconditional love. It was the kind of love you might imagine a new born baby feels from it’s ecstatic parents. But better. It was the kind of love you might imagine feeling when two people fall in love. But more. The light whispered again, “Yahweh.” Then suddenly, I felt myself gasping for air. I sat up and struggled to breath and at the same time trying to get back to that light.

And isn’t that what we all want? We all want that rapturous feeling of unconditional love. We want it because it is our birthright. We want it because it is from our Creator. We want it because it is the spark that brought us our existence. That night, I received the message loud and clear. It was with me all along in my heart. The question was, “Was I willing and ready to accept this gift that has been given to me?”  I decided that it was time to embrace this gift and live my life. It was time to clean out all the mental and spiritual garbage that had been weighing me down and make room for something new.

I have since learned to embrace my anger. I see it as a valuable emotion signaling to me that my thoughts or out of alignment with my heart. I can use it propel me to action. I can express my anger and know that I can do it in a way that is safe and surround myself with others who respect my need to give voice to my concerns. Best of all, I can let it go once it has served it’s purpose instead of just stuffing it away to become a burden in my life.

In this month of breast-cancer awareness, it’s not enough to be focused on the cancer. It is time for emotional awareness. “Deep hurt. Longstanding resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatreds. What’s the use?” Does this sound familiar? It is our heart’s way of raising the pink flag to signal that it is time to LOVE YOURSELF LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, BECAUSE IT DOES. Time to connect with your inner light.

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