Day 298 - Anger is Easy, Love is Hard...
For me, getting angry is easy. It is second nature. It is hard wired. It is my go to reaction when something I don’t like happens. It is where I lived a great deal of my life. In fact, we could go so far to say that I spent the first 25 years there. When I quit drinking, everyone I knew was pissed about something, often times, a lot of things. Anger was an intoxicating emotion that gave us all the delusional, yet real feeling, that we were in charge of something. In reality, we weren’t even in charge of ourselves.
I didn’t know it at the time but the day I got sober, I turned away from anger and towards love. I didn’t know that was the deal I was cutting but it was. I didn’t know how much harder love is than being pissed, but I have found out.
Anger just came easy. Love has created some much harder terms. But, my God, has it been worth the effort!
Taking my life in 25 year segments, I can see that I was so consumed the first 25 years with railing against everything and everyone. I was upset and confused and lost and I was super pissed about it. I didn’t ever really get anywhere except more lost, confused and angry. Right up until the time when I got this brief but most urgent invitation to change everything in my life. Thank God, no one told me that I was going to spend the next 25 years learning how to love myself and you and everyone else on the planet. Thank God, I didn’t know that, I might be dead just because that task too daunting almost to tackle today but back then I would have totally checked the “no fucking way” box.
Why is it that anger so easy and loving so hard?
Because anger requires no heart, no authenticity. Anger creates disconnection and that is easy. Get pissed, walk away. Done. Anger is the way that I felt safe for a really long time and, admittedly, sometimes still do. I know the role anger plays in my life today. I can see it. Actually now, I can’t not see it and that is sometimes hard and inconvenient.
Loving is hard because I have to move toward connection rather than disconnection. And finding, maintaining and enduring connection sometimes feels like too much to ask of me. Sometimes I don’t want love to be an action. I just want it to be something that floats in the air and I can just let it pass by with no effort at all on my part. But that isn’t love. It can be a lot of other things but love it isn’t.
Connection requires heart, and soul and work and toiling. I have to work hard to love you and even harder to let you love me. I have to show up and tell you the truth and allow things to be messy. I have to be who I am even when I am sure you aren’t going to like her, accept her or want her. I have to do it anyway because in love, I have made you a promise that I am going to be here no matter what because I love you.
I think for the first 25 years, I took the easy way because I was lazy. I wanted all the credit and to do little to no actual work. I was selfish and seriously unwilling to really care about you. I cared about me and then criticized you for not caring as much as I did. In reality, I didn’t really care for either one of us. You were just a vehicle to escape myself for a little while. And really nothing else...as soon as something better came along, I was gone. Disconnected and on my way to the next person, place or thing that I was sure to bring me happiness. I brought me with me so it was a never ending saga of disappointment, frustration and loss.
I think, unwittingly, I spent the next 25 years learning to love. I did it poorly more often than I did it well. I was still selfish a lot and got it wrong more than I got it right. However, I did start to move toward connection over disconnection (love over anger) more often and landed in today with a firm and solid commitment to work hard to sow the seeds of connection with others by doing so with myself every day.
Love is hard because it is more worthwhile. It has harder terms because it requires me to show up in my real skin and do the work even when I don’t want to. I want to phone it in but I can’t. Because love is something that requires all of me. I have to show up and do the work because in order to love something or someone, you have to give it all you have got. No exceptions. If you aren’t giving it your all, then you are really doing love a disservice. And creating fertile grounds for disconnection and anger to erode love’s higher ground.
I didn’t know it but when I made that decision a long time ago, I was basically saying to the universe, send me hard meaningful things. I am ready to go deeper and work harder. I am glad I didn’t know it at the time because I would have given it back. This gift of love. I would have said, “no thanks. I am not interested.”
It has seemed that love creates some pretty hard terms. I am scared often and sometimes so overwhelmed by what is being asked of me that I allow anger to reappear to create some space around me so that I can feel safe again. However, it is a futile strategy. I know that the space I create only makes my life harder in the end and the distance I put between you and me, is just distance I am going to have deal with sooner or later if I want to keep loving you. And most importantly, if I want to keep loving me. It is so much easier, just to swing wide love’s door and leave it open to whatever and whomever might walk in. I don’t need to know how long you are staying or if you are here to break my heart. Love requires that I be vulnerable, honest and open in order to reap any kind of benefit at all.
Loving is hard but her terms are generous and make it all worthwhile. Finding yourself in a loving embrace a worthy reward for all the difficult effort.
Today I work to create opportunities for love to flourish while I try to pay attention to all my self defeating strategies that leave me safer but alone. I remember that anger is easy but love is hard. And that is what makes loving the more merit producing action. And today I am all about behaving in ways that create merit in myself and others. So I am going to keep going, working hard to love when I would rather be angry and pissed. I know how I feel when I love and I know how I feel when I am upset. I choose love today, no matter how hard the terms.