One night, I was boiling inside. Fury.
It was a while back, so I can’t remember the content, but I do know my anger was directed at my partner, Vince.
(He was probably playing a video game when I wanted him to guess I wanted help in the kitchen; or something like that.)
I’d had enough experience to know that to express my anger at him would not only leave us more disconnected, but would also keep me from exploring whatever was inside me the anger was trying to hide. So I sat myself down on the front steps in the middle of winter, bundled and fuming.
I began to allow the rage to well up in my body. I felt the heat of it. I felt fire in my eyes. I let go of whatever thoughts I was having about why I was angry and just let myself experience my own anger, sensationally. I allowed the anger to be as big as it needed, dissolving my cells, radiating out in all directions. I tried to melt the snow.
Psst: If you haven’t ever let yourself fully experience your own anger internally, I highly recommend it. While scary or uncomfortable at first, it’s a pretty exhilarating experience. Anger is full of energy, full of life. It breaks bars and cracks cages. It’s the stuff of freedom. I’ve learned to trust that when I’m angry, there is some part of my own self I’ve been keeping locked up, denied, or buried, and parts-of-my-own-self, just like most living things, do not like to be caged.
So as I let the anger rise, I began to hear these words. “I hate him.” This was directed at Vince.
Anger turned to hate and I began to welcome this feeling too, in the same way. I let my whole body fill with Hate. To help myself do this, I kept saying the words internally to myself over and over, “I hate him…I hate him…I hate him…”
I wasn’t doing this to convince myself, or fan the flames, I was doing it to finally acknowledge the feeling that I had, until that day, been unable to admit. Sometimes, I hate the man I love.
I realized then, that I had been repressing my hate, my dislike, annoyance, and aversion, my judgment, not only of Vince, but everywhere in life. I had made “hating” wrong, so when I experienced it, I had made myself wrong. This was the part of myself who was pissed. This was the part trying to break free: The part of me who sometimes, whether I like it or not, hates.
It made sense to me that I had locked this away. To hate felt dangerous. What if I allowed it and it cost me my relationship? What if I allowed it and it turned me into a terrible person that no one wanted to be around?
By allowing myself to feel my own hate though, I realized I am not a hateful person (if there is such a thing). I am a loving person, who sometimes hates. And just because I hate Vince sometimes, doesn’t mean I don’t love him.
The truth is, I can’t not feel hate.I can usually choose whether or not to express it, but hate, just like any feeling, just apparently happens sometimes. Until that night, I didn’t really have any choice about suppressing it either. That too, was just happening.
But now my own hate had become conscious. Now I could see it and it felt so good to be honest with myself about it. By allowing the feeling of hate, it became way less serious and less personal. Soon it evaporated like the invisible swirl of energy that it is.
Lying in bed that night, I told Vince that I 94% loved him and I 6% hated him. I didn’t have to tell him this, but I love being known by him, and one of my favorite things about him is how steady and loving he is in the presence of my honesty, as long as it’s delivered in the spirit of connection.
It occurs to me now that I never asked him what his percentages are, but I have a feeling they’re pretty similar. 🙂