Healing Through Peacefulness
By Dr. Diane Abdo
The reality and impact of terrorism and its brutality in our lives and world today can be overwhelmingly frightening and distressing. In order to cope with the anguish and pain that is caused by the knowledge of the brutality and trauma perpetrated upon innocent people, we must understand the nature of anger, its purpose and value.
Please join me in a short explanation of the purpose and impact of anger. Anger is your psyche’s way of warning you that you are feeling vulnerable or violated. It is impossible to not feel anger, or even rage, initially, when you have been betrayed or traumatized.
Rage overwhelms and immobilizes your senses, thereby inviting your dark side to control you. Acting on anger interrupts your healing process. The goal is to understand and address the meaning and impact of the cause or causes of your anger. Once you understand the psychological meaning of the event, and arrive at appropriate methods for dealing with the situation, your anger will shift into something manageable and workable. You will experience a sense of personal empowerment and control from this process of understanding, rather than remaining a victim of your emotions and reactivity.
Understand that anger and rage give you illusions of power, strength, justification and protection. Often, the sense of connection that results when you join with others in anger or rage, can lead to behaviors and attitudes that are negative and destructive.
Consider that membership in a gang is a good example of this phenomenon. Typically, the fundamental impetus for involvement in a gang is the need for belonging. Without the guidance, support and sense of importance to a trusted family, young people are lured into the inclusive, if not distorted, dynamic of belonging to a group of people controlled by a malevolent leader. Rage and fear are the tools of manipulation that gangs and terrorists rely upon. We must internally insulate ourselves from the control these tools can have over us.
A significant point to understand is that the emotional pain and vulnerability one experiences during times of trauma or other distress creates chemistry that disrupts calmness. This calmness is necessary to support clarity of thinking, which then assists the management of emotions and then effective decision-making. Further, when we are afraid, angry or otherwise negatively emotionally overwhelmed, the other’s anger is experienced as abrasive and disruptive to the calmness that is necessary for clarity and emotional healing. If you remain focused on anger and rage, others will not feel safe with you and you will perpetuate the chemistry of stress and negativity within yourself and the others around you. Moreso, the rage within you will be further ignited, disguising the deeper need for healing.
Hopefully, now, you can see the importance of being in charge of your own emotions in order to be able to contribute to an environment that is healing. Both for your own wellbeing, and for the wellbeing of those you bond with through challenging times, it is essential to develop your skills at being a harbor of safety. While we cannot stop the dark forces of others, we can support the process of healing by not giving in to our own dark forces in whichever ways they exist within us: unbridled anger, rage, resentment, hostility, etc.
To empathically understand is more helpful, healing and powerful than to connect in rage. While this healing begins within us as individuals, ultimately, others benefit as they experience the soothing and supportive energy that emanates from us, consciously and unconsciously. Just imagine the potential reach to larger groups and communities of that singular decision to commit to compassion, despite fear and rage. This form of loving gives new meaning to the concept of power.
Choosing the peaceful and loving path does not justify acts of horror and violence. Rather, it empowers you to have personal control as you choose your response. Further, it builds the Life Muscles of: Endurance, Perspective, Finding Focus During Chaos, and Choosing Meaningful Participation vs. Reactivity.
Let’s consider developing these, and other, important Life Muscles as you navigate challenges and as you connect in meaningful ways with others also experiencing challenges. As you read this brief description of valuable Life Muscles, please assess your current skill level on each of these measures and commit to developing proficiency in each of them over time.
Through developing these Life Muscles, you can more readily arrive at:
In the effort to be clear in my message to you through this article, I will offer this very simple but powerful point:
When two or more people join in rage, hurt, anger and despair to share their pain and agony about an act perpetrated against them, their family, friends or community, a sense of connection, and even solidarity, occurs. Their shared outrage, or grief, supports them initially. However, if outrage or distress are consistently the main form of expression during times of sharing, the experience becomes incendiary. Repetitive rage, anger, hurt and despair, can blind, distort, and intensify the psyche and chemistry of illness and deepen pain within an individual or group of people. Ultimately, if not interrupted, this pattern renders the connection, that was initially supportive, to be debilitating and toxic. Now, the connection cannot heal. Now, it harms.
Choose to be a source of comfort by helping those in pain (including yourself) to calm and gain composure. Recognize their, and your, anger, rage and hurt. These emotions are natural and necessary. Then, light the pathway to healing by emitting tranquil and loving energy. Maintain the attitude that expresses understanding and gentleness. The intentional act of interrupting outrage with moments of quiet allows the process of emotional healing to begin to take root. Those around you, and you, will benefit from that starting point of healing. Now, with the clarity that comes from calmness, measured responses to even the most unsettling circumstances can be initiated.
As you consider the messages in this article, if you notice any tug of resistance to the concepts presented, seek to understand:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” (Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I hope you choose to be the light of safety and comfort in times of darkness.
I realize that the scope of the concept of Healing Through Love is too large to effectively represent in only one article. Therefore, I will be addressing different aspects of this topic in future articles here on my blog at www.drdianeabdo.com.
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Dr. Abdo strives to help you connect with your inner peace and develop the empowerment that is rooted in your unique awareness. She believes that, with personal knowledge and enhanced life skills, you can proactively participate in the course of your journey. Dr. Abdo approaches her efforts to help you grow with the deep belief that we must be consciously engaged in the dance steps of our lives to reach our goals and actualize our dreams.