Often when we get caught up in our anger, we think it is the only emotion we are feeling with, perhaps, a little hurt and fear mixed in. When we only “listen” to the voice of our anger, hurt, and fear, we are often misguided about what we really want. Consequently, the words, thoughts and actions generated by these emotions almost always lead us away from what we want instead of towards it.
These emotions are generated by our ego’s desire to protect us. The only problem is that the ego is not the part of us that is skilled at getting what we really want and need. When we shift from the protective, blaming nature of ego to the responsibility of spirit, the real truth is often revealed to us; a truth that, once known, may be a far cry from where we were headed.
A woman once shared with me that she was unhappy in her marriage. She explained, “I’m just not in love with him anymore. I am seriously thinking about divorce.”
I encouraged her to consider the possibility that her love for him was still fully in tact, but it was blocked by the ego’s desire to protect her. It is much easier to remove blocks that are damming the flow of love than it is to conjure up love where there isn’t any. I explained that right underneath anger is hurt, under hurt is fear, then responsibility, understanding (which allows us to feel compassion and even forgiveness). These leads us to what we truly want, and underneath that is love and appreciation. I encouraged her to dig deeper into how she was feeling, to listen to all of these emotions for the truth, instead of just to the desception of anger.
She shared, “I am really angry that he spends so much time away from home. He has clearly prioritized work over family, and I feel that I—we—just don’t matter that much to him.
“I am hurt because I ache from loneliness, and I’m sad that I could be so lonely within my marriage.
“I am afraid that we are going to keep growing apart. If I’m really honest, I am afraid that I won’t be able to resist when someone else offers me love and attention because I miss being intimate with him.”
Responsibility is the turning point between ego and the spirit. This is where the shift to healing happens.
She continued exploring, “I realize that I have not always made our home a safe place for you to come home to. When I am unhappy, I can see that I actually make your work a more desirable place to be; the stress there and the stress at home leaves you with no safe place to just let down your guard.
“I understand that you are working hard to ensure our financial security. Without that, our family would suffer far greater stresses than just missing you. It must be really frustrating to you to feel as though I am not appreciative.
“What I want is for us to have a loving marriage again. I want for the two of us to spend time alone together again, falling back in love, being romantic, laughing together, and enjoying life—like we used to. I miss you. I want us to make our relationship a priority so that it doesn’t just slip away unconsciously. I want to grow old with you, in love.”
“I deeply appreciate all that you do for our family and how great an effort you put into everything you do. The truth is that I love spending time with you, or this wouldn’t even be an issue.
I love you and cherish you as my husband, my friend, and my lover.
I’m sure you can see that this is a far cry from “I’m not in love with you anymore and I want a divorce!” Once the total truth of emotions has been expressed, her husband is far more likely to be able to “hear” her and they will both be more inspired to make changes, if necessary. Love is far more motivating than the emotions of the ego. When we allow our anger, hurt, and fear to be the flags on top of a mountain of emotions that need investigation, we are far better able to align our words, thoughts, and actions with our heart’s true desire.