I had a lot of anger in me growing up. Like so many kids from my generation, my parents were divorced and I was juggling the new found territory of duel households. My siblings and I lived with my mom and visited my dad here and there, not with any regularity. My dad got remarried shortly after my parent’s divorce and started a new life with her and her son. My mother didn’t get remarried until I was an adult and so I spent the majority of my childhood without a reliable father figure.
I tell you this not to invoke sympathy, although I’m sure many of you can relate, rather to help explain something that took me over twenty years to realize on my own. I had so much anger towards my father for the way he handled my parent’s divorce, for the abandonment I felt during my childhood. I told him often how angry I was at him, something he didn’t know how to deal with, our relationship was never easy. Here’s the thing though, I wasn’t really angry, I was heartbroken.
My sadness felt too great for me to handle so I turned to rage because it made me feel powerful. I could choose to be angry when it felt like every other choice was being made for me. The thing about anger is that it creates a mask, one which I wore to avoid feeling the pain I felt inside.
Last year, I took the mask off. In the ruins of my own marriage, I cried harder than I have ever cried. I cried for the loss of my own father, I cried for failing to give my own children what I had so desperately wanted as a child, and I cried for all the years I had pretended my sadness didn’t matter. I remember saying to my sister that I felt like I would never get to the bottom of my pain. She promised I would, she promised that when I did I would feel the sun shine in a way I have never felt before.
You know what…she was right. At the bottom of my sadness was the most peaceful place I had ever experienced. It was like looking out at the calm ocean and seeing a perfect reflection of the sky. All of the sudden there was a new choice, love. I could choose love instead of anger. The love started with myself and spread out like a net over everyone in my life. I found with love I could accomplish so much more than I ever could with anger.
This is why I say choose love. Want to change the world? Come at it with love. Be a peaceful warrior and harness the power of love.