Your friend flakes on your lunch plans again.
The guy you really like ghosts you.
All your coworkers get drinks after work and never invite you.
We’ve all been there—in a situation where we feel like we’re on the outside of life. Instead of addressing the hole in our heart or the cold loneliness in our gut, we pull a red curtain of wrath around our hurt and let it drop.
We talk shit, point out what is wrong with everyone else, and scowl at the world with our arms crossed, sneering at everyone around us.
We take all the negative feelings in our hearts and compress them into a tight ball of burning hate.
And we think we’re better off.
But we are not.
The anger that we feel in our souls in these situations comes from a deep-rooted fear of being alone, on the outside, less liked than others, and forgotten.
I once read that anger is just a pen-name for sadness, and this statement has stayed with me. Anger is us turning our painful emotions into Molotov cocktails and heaving them out into the world as hard as we can—wanting to hear the shatter of glass and watching a building go up in flames.
But, once the red-hot flames burn out, you are left with charred remains and ash-covered broken glass. The fury burned a hole into your chest, now as hollow as an eggshell.
Anger is much easier to manage than sadness
We dispel anger and push it away, away, away, desperately trying to purge our painful thoughts through harsh words and clenched fists.
But sadness is a pit that is reserved just for us; being angry doesn’t make the sadness go away.
In my late adolescence, I subconsciously began to employ a coping mechanism to protect myself from being sad. My best friend has joked before that she thinks I feel everything at an eleven. I would push my sadness deep down and cover it with anger, spewing like a venomous snake at anything that caused me pain. I have always been an extremely emotional person. And because of that, I am no stranger to bouts of sadness and worry that inundate me like a tsunami wave.
I would speak about the people who hurt me with fury, spitting rage. I would talk about how they weren’t that smart or special or clever. The words burst out from me like hot lava.
But once my anger would burn out, I would be left with a cold feeling of guilt-like fluid build up in my chest. The words that once felt so powerful and important coming out of my mouth left me standing in a stale air of hatred, feeling ashamed and two inches tall.
Hatred gives our feelings a strong voice, but that voice is bitter and only causes further harm. Hate doesn’t solve anything.
For those who are ashamed, please be gentle with yourself. You are not hateful; you are hurting.
And I’m sorry you are hurting. You’re allowed to be hurt, and you’re allowed to feel emotions of anger. Feeling feelings of anger does not make you a bad person. But don’t let the anger consume you, don’t let the anger suffocate your sadness.
There is nothing wrong with feeling sad, even if your sadness feels profound. You are entitled to any degree of sadness you feel necessary, and you’re allowed to feel the sadness that you are feeling.
Sadness is an uncomfortable emotion, so it’s understandable why we all try to desperately avoid it so much.
It is cold and hollow.
It is is a deflated balloon.
But we feel sadness for a reason, and we feel emotions for a reason. Let yourself feel them.
Let yourself feel your sadness instead of covering it up with anger. Allow yourself to unravel the tight ball of hatred in your chest.
You are not hateful—you are hurting.