I certainly had the right to be angry.
I certainly had my reasons, reasons that still make sense today, even if the emotions that used to accompany them rarely ever register a heartbeat.
I grew up with a difficult childhood, graduated to a young adult who still faced many challenges, and then matriculated to even harsher life lessons that I would have to learn in my adult years.
Oh goodness did I ever have the right to be angry.
Starting off as a hurt little kid I turned into an angry teenager, never truly letting go of my anger throughout my 20s into my later 30s.
And what did that anger get me?
That isn’t entirely accurate because there is one thing that the fire of anger got me and that was more anger, more pain, more misery.
I would focus on the hard times in my life wearing it like a badge. I would later gain wisdom from teachers like Eckhart Tolle and books such as The Four Agreements that the reason I held on to that anger so tightly, the reason I grasped onto my pain for dear life is that my anger and pain had become my identity. Difficult times in my life were some of the only things I felt were truly MINE, things that made me unique from what I saw as the everyday Jane and Joe… something to make me feel special.
My pain and my anger made me who I was.
And I wasn’t ready to give that up.
I felt that without my pain, without my anger, I was giving up my meaning, the very things that made me ME and I was scared to leave that in that past. I felt that I had little else to offer, that I had little reason to be happy because I had such limited moments where I truly was happy for extended periods of time.
But I would say that I wanted to be happy.
That I wanted to have peace.
The problem growing up with a base knowledge of anger and pain is that one doesn’t have a very good understanding on HOW to be happy when one hasn’t seen it much themselves. One doesn’t know HOW to achieve peace when one has so many experiences that have been negative.
So I took what I knew and applied that. I used sarcasm and mean comments as powerful weapons. I wasn’t purposely trying to hurt others but I didn’t have the understanding that comments and words I used in jest and “good fun” were just perpetuating the negativity I had known most of my life. My only saving grace is that I was always an individual that was quick to apologize, but after some time people are sick of hearing apologies and even more sick of being around a negative person that was full of anger and pain.
When people would walk away I would say to myself that those individuals didn’t care much about me and/or I would be jealous and envious of the “perfect world” that other individuals I perceived were living.
This cycle would go on and on where I would be angry, jealous, envious and I would either be wanting the pity of others for difficult moments in my life or spreading my own venom as a means of making myself (temporarily) feel better by having others share in my pain.
For many, many years this is how my life would be.
Faced with a crossroads moment in life that most of us will go through at least once (if not many times), I finally was at a point in my life where I was ready to make a real change.
I was finally ready to be happy once and for all (or at least get on the right path to head in that direction).
All of my anger came to a head where I could not get any angrier.
All of my pain had reached a plateau where I felt that I simply could not hurt any more.
I was ready to do whatever it took to start living every day of my life in a positive way and I let go of my pain… I let go of my anger.
I came to the epiphany that hate only breeds more hate, anger more anger, jealous feelings more jealousy, negativity MORE negativity. I looked at positive role models throughout history and saw that the ONLY way to bring peace to one’s life is through peace itself. The only way to get more people to gravitate to you and WANT to love you is by being loving yourself. The only way to attract positivity is by staying positive, by focusing on the smallest grain of good even if there is a pile of excrement next to you.
This most basic understanding came to me much later in life than I would have liked and I would discuss said topic with one of the greatest friends anyone could ever want to have time and time again at this simple observation and his response hit me like an uppercut from a professional boxer:
You catch more bees with honey.
When I first heard it, it reeked of cliché. However, as I continued to repeat it in my mind and out loud over and over, it was no longer cliché to me, there was nothing cheesy about it. The message was so simple and many (most?) times the shortest, simplest messages are the most effective.
Soon I was reminded of being advised in the past (when I wasn’t ready) by a very important individual to “fake it until you make it” regarding being happy. In order to bring happiness into your life you have to do it yourself, sometimes before everyone else.
I started applying the “bees with honey” approach to my entire life. I smiled more at people, watched what I said more than ever before, and was complimentary and full of humility. In order to rewrite the story of my life I had ventured on to a new path, a path that I had little experience with, but felt I finally had the tools to apply what I had learned.
As this positive approach was employed, I noticed that not only were people nicer to me, kinder to me, happier around me, that my own anger and pain subsided. I don’t think I will ever get to a point in my life where both are non-existant, but the more I was happy, the more I brought kindness, hugs, and love to others, the more I received, and the more I healed (and continue to do so today).
I went from an angry, hurt individual to a state of anger and pain I never knew could exist and I type this today many, many ways happier than I ever have been in my life before because I no longer was experiencing happy times, or happy moments, but a happy LIFE.
Life is too short to waste your time and energy with perpuating negativity and anger. This bee now hopes he flies positively and happily most days I continue to pollenate the world with my presence.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.