I had a dream last night – quite a vivid one, about someone I used to know. The message, wherever it came from or why it tore its way through my subconscious at this particular time, was very very clear to me.
What anger represents is nothing except a hastened emotional reaction. Even the most rational people get angry. Often, rational people get angrier because they reserve their anger for times when it actually matters. Anger is not a gauge of someone’s ability or inability to communicate. Anger is not someone’s personality summed up in an event. Anger is anger, and anger is – like fear, like laughter, like crying, your body’s response to feeling. I don’t think this type of reaction can be avoided whatsoever. Either you’ll direct your anger at someone who deserves it or someone who doesn’t. The only thing that will strip off anger is time. In time, someone can learn to forgive, and they can see anger in its fully-realized, more “rational” formation.
In my dream, I went and hastily sent out some more choice words to the person I was angry with. That person appeared at my door when I was with a mutual friend and to my face, the person tore strip after strip off me. The person was calling me out on ways I handled our dispute that were less than flattering but admittedly, they were accurate. The person forced me in my dream state, to evaluate and feel what an angry person I can be. And thinking about this now, it’s important to realize while I couldn’t control that, I also can’t take it back. I don’t want to take it back. Taking it back would imply I had no reason to be angry and I did.
I’m not some flawless, straight-laced person whose emotions fall like dead bricks of gray concrete onto the floor; rather, my emotions emit like dandelion seeds and they fly in uneven, scattered patterns in various, directions. While that has its pros and cons, at the end of the day I like that about myself. I don’t want to be someone controlled or discipline in my emotions. I don’t want to be unable to express feeling. But… that way I handled the fact that yes, I am right and you are wrong, was not with dignity. At the time I felt like dignity was unimportant. I was wrong.
The other typically odd details of this dream seem irrelevant but in a certain kind of way, they were. In my dream I was taking this person’s huge barrage of Easter gifts – countless teddy bears, piles of chocolates and daintily-wrapped candies and bundled fancy baked goods – and thrusting them out of my house. The person was supposed to stay over at my house and I told them they could not after what they said and did, after they marched into my private space, refused to acknowledge my apology and my offer to not ‘forgive’, but move towards cordial pleasantries. I was mad. But eventually, I became buried in all of these frivolous belongings that didn’t belong to me but were certainly my burden to deal with in this dream and I just gave up and let them be. This was also when I woke up.
When we’re angry we just want to make the person we’re angry at feel badly about themselves and make them feel guilty about what they did. You want to hurt them back because their sting was felt so deeply the only thing you can do is try and thrust that pain back onto its inflictor. At the time this dispute occurred I was asked a question: “Do you hate me?” No. Absolutely not. It’s important to remember that such an angry, viscerally emotional reaction doesn’t occur because of hate or indifference… it comes from a very deep-seeded and powerful kind of love.