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When Being Angry Is a Mask for Fear
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. – Mark Twain

''Why do people seem to always be so angry? Why am I always so angry?'' Have you heard yourself asking these types of questions? Did you find the answers? The answers aren't hard to figure out.

When fearful, some people will shrink and hide away, but many people become aggressive, overcompensating for their fears. Fear of inadequacy, fear of lack of control, fear of being hurt. Fear to them means weakness and vulnerability, it means a lack of authority. With fragile egos, feeling weak and oppressed will often be transformed into anger. It's as if we feel that being infuriated could solve our anxiety.

While sometimes we get angry with ourselves, most anger stems from actions by others or events far outside our control - the person who cut us off on the highway, a family member who throws a wrench in a holiday celebration, or the change in work policy from corporate headquarters. Reacting in anger to actions we have no control over is merely an effort to appear forceful and powerful while covering up our fears and feelings of inadequacy. All it really does is make us victims of circumstance and we become even more powerless.

If there is a hell on earth,
living with feelings of anger and blame defines it.
If there is a heaven on earth,
living powerfully and lovingly as the creator of our own lives defines it.

Living life in anger is really no life at all. We all know this to be true in our hearts, yet sometimes we let our anger take control. Anger is hard on our bodies, hard on our relationships, and especially hard on our minds. When we are living in anger it is impossible to be in touch with our Higher Selves. Anger, and the fear it stems from, is a direct response from our lizard brain - our Lower Selves.

In End the Struggle and Dance with Life, Susan wrote, ''If you look long enough and hard enough, you realize that all your negative emotions - including anger, blame, guilt, low self-esteem and fear - signal that you are stuck in the clutches of your Lower Self and you need to extricate yourself so that you can reconnect with your Spiritual 'Home,' your Higher Self. In this way, your negative emotions actually serve a valuable function. When you heed the signal and reconnect with your Higher Self, you find that these negative emotions fall by the wayside and peace is mercifully restored within your being.''

How do we let go of the anger and the fear? Susan offered this advice: ''Sit yourself down in a quiet spot and reflect on your life. Ask yourself, 'What am I trying to ignore through anger? What am I frightened to look at within myself?' As you begin answering these important questions with all the masks stripped away, you can then use the many Spiritual tools available to you to heal any of the hurts or fears that may have been controlling you.''

When we recognize the anger and follow it to its source, we can begin working on eradicating the fear that lies at the heart of it. One of Susan's favorite tools for entering into this self-discovery was guided visualization. From Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway:

''A guided visualization requires that you close your eyes, relax your body, and listen to the person giving you instructions. It uses the power of your imagination to see life as it would be seen if you listen only to your Higher Self. If you are fearful, your imagination is plugged into the Chatterbox, and often the only things you can conjure up are horror stories. With guided visualizations you can learn to push aside the Chatterbox for a moment and experience feelings and see mental pictures the likes of which you have never felt or seen before. The pictures are often of such beauty that you will be moved to tears of joy. Even negative pictures that arise are valuable; they often reveal insights you have been hiding from yourself.''

Many of Susan's books give examples of visualizations and her audio CDs are filled with them. The internet has also proved to be a good resource, as there are many sources offering guided talks. Really, it would be hard to find an excuse NOT to favor yourself with so powerful a Spiritual tool as guided visualization.

If you have no concept of how the world can look without fear,
it is hard to know what you are striving for.

When you find yourself angry, step back from yourself and dig into the ''why'' of it. With practice, you can learn to go from the impulsive reaction of our lizard brain Lower Selves to the enlightened understanding of our Higher Selves.

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