I know what it is to be connected to people.
I love people. Truly. I have my close friends, whom I love and trust, and a community at large whom I adore and that loves and trusts me.
It’s really an awesome experience.
But I want to share with you something that hasn’t been so awesome that I learned the hard way —
That sometimes I’ve bonded with people over anger and pain.
Before I go into that, I want to clarify something:
Anger is SO valuable if it does two things:
1. Expresses pain (without hurting someone else in the process)
2. Moves you to HEALING action
I put the qualifier on the first one and then, HEALING in caps on the second one because we’ve all known people who express their anger in a way that leaves more damage AND we all know people who use their anger to take actions that destroy.
Neither of those are the purpose for anger.
Every emotion — as painful or uncomfortable as it might be — has a gift for us if we will live with a higher intention. So, if we have an intention to live a loving, healing, forgiving, free life — then, our emotions — even anger — will be funneled and focused to that end.
But without that higher intention? It gets messy.
I see it all the time in the Hashimoto’s community. I love the work I do as a writer and a life coach to women with autoimmune conditions. And I’ve also noticed some patterns:
That some of the women get really, really, REALLY bitchy with each other. Whether it’s about the diets or supplements or whatever, there can be a swell of negativity that can happen — and then, on social media, they get bitchy together.
They bond over their mutual negativity.
And then, they’re like crabs in a bucket: One person tries something new to climb out of the bucket of symptoms, and a bunch of crabby girlfriends try to pull them back down into the bottom of the bucket.
That group rejection and negativity is POWERFUL and sometimes we want community so badly, after being dismissed by doctors and misjudged by family members, that we are willing to settle for low-level connections over loneliness.
I’ll give you an example from my own life where a negative bond didn’t serve me:
I had been estranged from someone in my life. I loved her and missed her deeply and she wasn’t responding to my calls or emails. Then, we both got hurt by the same person in our circle and she and I reconnected again.
We reconnected over our anger and pain.
Which makes sense, right?
But here’s what I started noticing:
Every conversation started with, “Oh my god, wait ‘til I tell you what happened…”
Or something like that.
Almost every conversation we had was about what that other person had done, ad nauseum…
Well, at some point, after several months, I noticed how icky that felt inside of me. I don’t usually function in relationships that way. I don’t really talk about people. I love talking about ideas and concepts, dreams, and really big, fun stuff — so, it was really standing out as feeling low vibe.
Yet, I loved this person and didn’t want to lose her again.
I felt that tug inside of me. Which eventually felt like a prison inside of me, because I realized:
I wasn’t free.
Not just because I was afraid to lose her again, which was part of it.
But I wasn’t free because I had to hold on to an anger toward another person who I would normally have already forgiven.
And I realized that for as long as I wasn’t willing to forgive, I wasn’t open to healing with that person who had hurt me.
Totally a prison for me.
So, I said in one of our calls, “I love you. I love being connected to you. And I know we’ve both been mad at the same person and that’s what brought us together, but you and I have so much more in common than that so, I’m excited to focus on all those other good things we can chat about like family, health, spirituality, Italy — and so much more. What do you think?”
Do you know that all these years later we spend so much time talking about the real, good, honest, nitty-gritty CURRENT stuff in our life, that we almost never talk about that other person anymore.
And bonus! I’m back connected to the person we had both been mad at.
More love! More healing! More connection!
But, it required something: we had to shift and not only break the habit — but break the bond we had built on our mutual pain, and reach for something higher.
Maybe you can relate to that. And maybe you have a relationship where you can use a little shift, too.
If you can, read the prose I wrote about this, share the link with your friends — or frenemies — or whatever —
And let’s all just heal
When I’m Angry WITH You
Sometimes, when we’re so mad or in pain, we long for agreement and a sense of community. That’s normal. But here’s what we don’t realize sometimes:
When you bond with someone over a mutual pain without a higher vision to heal, then you bond to the pain itself in order to maintain the bond with the person.
Same thing with hate: If we bond over a mutual hate for a person or people group, we have to keep fueling the fire of that hate in order to maintain our sense of belonging.
That doesn’t work out so well in the long run.
We need to bond over higher things like love and freedom, forgiveness and healing — because when we fuel those expansive qualities, we allow for changing ideas and personal transformation — so that we can grow to the next places of our healing and freedom.
But when we bond over pain and hate, we don’t allow ourselves to grow beyond our hate and pain.
We have to maintain them.
We sit with the same people, sipping the same wine or coffee, spouting the same stories of angry, mad, and sad — over, and over and over again.
It doesn’t serve our healing
because it doesn’t serve our highest good.
Because if we build community on an ongoing complaint, we will just keep finding new things to complain about.
New people to hate.
New people to hurt us.
But all of that gets old and stale and makes us bitter, angry people.
And when we bond to others like that, it makes for bitter, angry communities.
Something needs to change.
And it’s not going to be by a world that turns suddenly perfect so that we have no more hurt or pain.
It’s by us focusing on our Divine Resourcefulness — our power to use everything in our lives to become the best version of ourselves.
No matter what.
And if we hold THAT intention within our soul, we won’t need to bond with people over our pain.
We will bond will people over our power and our peace and what is the best possible outcome for our lives.
We will be so empowered by our beauty and our ability to transform and soar that we won’t ever want to settle for the low levels of connection and chronic complaints again.
When we do that, we will stop feeding our pain.
When we do that, we will start healing to love.