ANGER.

Last year, I was interviewing someone for my video podcast. These interviews are special because the stories tend to be incredibly real, raw and deeply personal. About 30 minutes into the interview, to my shock and horror, I could see that my computer hadn’t been plugged in properly and was about to die. I discreetly texted my boyfriend, who was in the other room playing a video game, with one simple request: “COME PLUG ME IN!”

I continued on with the interview, my guest oblivious to my plight, fully expecting him to arrive momentarily, quietly plug me in, and tip toe out of our studio.

My guest continued on with her story and when a few minutes passed, I started shaking, sweat pooling and dripping under my armpits. I could hear the “click clicking” of the video game controller, and all I could think was, “WHERE IS HE?!!?”

I texted again, “COME!!” and saw three dots appear, which heightened my frustration since the last thing I ever want is for my guests to feel that I’m being distracted by anything during our time together. I just needed him to PLUG ME IN.

I looked at my phone and couldn’t fathom his response, “Nothing I can do”

I pictured him on the couch, feet up, mouth open the way he does when he’s playing Call of Duty and began to feel the fiery heat start in my belly and begin to rise up toward my solar plexus. Several years ago, I began working with a therapist who helped me to acknowledge and work on my habit of anger. What I know for sure is that even after years of work, when I’m triggered by something that presses into my oldest, deepest wound of being neglected and unworthy, I struggle.

HARD.

Usually, I can calm myself. I’ve learned various strategies like closing my eyes and picturing a certain colour, or sitting with the discomfort until it abates, or finding a quiet place to calm down and regulate myself before responding.

In this case, there was just no…time. Or space. Or a place to go.

The heat and the anger and me were all balled into one messy, black, ugly knot in my chest and it made me feel like I was going to die.

I just needed to be plugged in!!!! Which, by the way, is something he always does for me when I’m conducting interviews (if you’ve been following for any length of time, you’ll know he’s always been an incredibly supportive partner)–so I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he wouldn’t just come and help me!

I continued nodding calmly as my guest shared more heartbreaking details of her life, even as my insides felt like they were being twisted into knots.

At a pivotal point in her story, my computer suddenly went black and I heard the buzzy, clicky sounds of it shutting down on its own. Then, nothing but quiet–for a nanosecond–until I exploded in anger. I screamed, “ROGER!!!!! Why didn’t you come!!! All I needed was to be PLUGGED IN?!!??!!” and about a million awful things and swear words that I won’t share here.

I was furious, literally seeing red.

I plugged in my computer, frantically texted my guest to apologize, and told her I was re-booting and would send her another Zoom invite as soon as it finished. As if to add insult to injury, my computer decided that it would also use this perfect opportunity to do an update–GAH!

I felt embarrassed and unprofessional and I was PISSED that my partner hadn’t responded to my simple request. 

My guest was lovely and gracious, of course, and texted back that it was fine and we would pick back up when I re-booted. She commiserated that it “happens to the best of us”, and I was hopeful we would be able to get the energy back and continue without an (obvious) hitch.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

She texted, “I was still there.”

I knew what she meant. That even when I thought my computer had fully shut down, she could still hear me. She’d witnessed my anger towards Roger.

I have no idea how long she was there.

I have no idea what she heard.

And I don’t want or need to know.

What I’ve come to understand, especially since doing the work of Radical Forgiveness (I’ll share more in a moment) is that this experience happened because it needed to happen. I’d been feeling like I was handling my shit pretty well, believing my habit of anger was way more under control than it actually was, and this experience showed me where I still had deep, important work to do.

It’s not like I’ve never been angry or yelled at Roger before. But that experience felt…different. I now know it was divinely guided. I now know it pointed me to my deepest, oldest wound, and that this horrific experience was an offering to show me where I hurt in order to acknowledge it, face it, and heal it.

Radical Forgiveness is the life’s work of Colin Tipping, and while it’s not totally unlike other forgiveness work I’ve done, Tipping’s approach is unique in that he believes nothing needs to be forgiven because nothing wrong ever happened.

He sees all experiences as necessary for our personal and spiritual growth and healing AND for the other person’s growth and healing, as well. With radical forgiveness, we can evolve in our relationships and in our lives.

It’s a radical approach yet it’s also a simple one; but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you struggle with difficult emotions, I can’t recommend this work highly enough and I am deeply grateful to my friend, Ellen, for turning me onto it. Radical Forgiveness is a fast read or listen and then the work is to complete Tipping’s worksheets. Here is the link to download them (read the book before attempting one, though!) to see the profound simplicity in this type of work.

I still find myself asking, “Oh God, what must she think of me!” because of my history of perfectionism and people-pleasing, but through practicing Radical Forgiveness and doing the worksheet around this experience, I’ve released a lot of the guilt, shame and embarrassment.

I forgive Roger

I forgive myself.

I forgive it all because it came here to teach me precisely what I needed to learn precisely when I needed to learn it.

During this unprecedented time in history, with a global pandemic and all the change and discomfort it entails, along with the fear, racism and hatred in the world, practicing some radical forgiveness might be the greatest gift you ever give yourself. It’s helped me work through some incredibly difficult emotions, and I know it has the power to help you, too.

Doing this work has afforded me a peace of mind I didn’t know existed. Truly. I’ve worked with countless teachers, coaches, healers, therapists and experts who have never been able to help me access some of my deepest, oldest wounds in such a real and tangible way. And I’ve never felt as much peace inside my body as I have since digging in to it. I will be utilizing these worksheets with my students as I evolve my programs, because I feel this simple tool has the capacity to create dramatic shifts in people’s lives.

If you’re struggling, there is a solution.

Radical forgiveness is the most healing work I’ve done when it comes to my emotions.

Because we aren’t meant to have gaping holes inside; we are meant to be whole.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. For anyone wondering why Roger didn’t come and plug me in, it turns out, it was a simple misunderstanding. He’d already plugged in my computer in and gotten me all set up in the studio, so he just thought I was talking about a bandwidth issue on my guest’s end, and continued happily playing his video game knowing there was “nothing he could do”. He felt awful for not realizing what I was asking for, but he never deserved the wrath of fury I spewed on him. I’m so sorry, Roger. Thank you for forgiving me. And to my guest, thank you for your grace.

P.P.S. If you’d like to deepen and strengthen your relationships while having some fun, I’ve put together 36 conversation-starters called “Moving Conversations” that are sure to help you strengthen your bonds while also boosting your fitness! You can download the entire set for free by entering your name and email address, above.

2 Comments

  • Marybeth

    Reply Reply June 2, 2020

    I wanted to sign up for your free Moving Conversations, Sarah… thank you so much on your email on Anger and forgiveness….

    What you described is EXACTLY me at my Core…and has been an issue all of my life…I have been working on this for years…so happy to see Radical Foregiveness and the Questions…I am going to do this Work when my reaction/anger pops up…

    BTW…It is so wonderful to know that I am not alone with this deep issue…thank you for your honesty!!

    I have been Sober 34 years and struggled with this my whole life…hurt partners and my children and myself so much…

    Today with all the work, therapy etc it has been better but this radical forgiveness questioning process will be so helpful when I start to feel and react…I can step back and do this work. . .

    Have a great day, Sarah!!♥️

    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply June 2, 2020

      Hi Marybeth,

      Thank you so much for reaching out and for sharing. I love knowing I am not alone. You aren’t, either. We are each other’s people. I truly hope the Radical Forgiveness work helps you in your life the way it’s helped me. I’d love to hear, so please stay close!
      And congratulations on 34 years! That’s incredible. Well, well done.

      Sending huge hugs your way.
      xoxo

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