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Befriending My Anger

Simon Lee on Unsplash
Simon Lee on Unsplash
For this week’s newsletter, I’d like to share an excerpt from one of my journal brain-dumps. As someone who deals with post-traumatic stress, I battle with flashbacks that trigger a rush of anxiety and fear of possibly being put in the same position again. But leaning into my feelings of anger has allowed me to reach the cusp of my healing. Leaning into my anger feels both liberating and empowering. It’s making me realize my sense of self-worth, and it’s showing me the strength I have within me to stand my ground.
I’m now at peace with anger. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this one emotion. Anger was trying to teach me what I truly deserved, while I pulled back in fear of the consequences because of its perceived power. I didn’t know how to use it. The power anger was trying to offer me felt so fearful and intimidating that I resorted to belittling myself, making myself small, and growing accustomed to other people’s fortress. But I no longer fit into small crevices and cracks.
Anger has overpowered every inch of my body and flesh, and I have no choice but to accept it. I understand now. Anger was trying to teach me my sense of self-worth all along. But I pulled back, because how could I accept that I was worthy? A belief that was so fundamentally foreign to me, so powerful, that anger kept coming back to teach me, but I kept running further and further away in fear. It felt easier to self-destruct. Fear led me to run so far despite getting lost, used, bruised, and worn out. I became the definition of damaged goods. I became the exchange of value for someone else’s self-worth.
But self-destruction only took me so far. I reached the edge of the cliff and I had to make a choice—jump into full self-destruction or finally choose myself. My battle with anger was inevitably coming to an end. But fear crept up again. Fear started to overpower my bones, flesh, and body. Was I going to let fear make this decision? What if…just what if I succumbed? I looked at fear in the eyes, and I never felt so much hatred for one emotion. So I fearfully chose myself. How ironic is it that fear wasn’t so friendly after all? So with love and gratitude, I owe anger an apology. I’m sorry to anger, I’m sorry for listening to fear and shame when all you wanted was to teach me how to love myself. 
With love,
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Reema AlYousef

Understanding the stories of human emotion

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