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ASK MERRILY/ Reply to “First Anger, Then Forgiveness”

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Jan 05,2010
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - I laugh at myself reading your answer to my question in your column, First Anger, Then Forgiveness.  You are right.  My son has a great relationship with his teacher this year, making clear that last year's teacher was a problem.  He has a new friend and our families are close.  I am grateful.
Yet, the whole truth is I am still furious.  I want to say to my former friend, thanks for letting me know early on that you would betray me, that investing in our friendship would be dangerous for me.  So, although I have accepted the gifts that came with her rejecting my son and me, I am not done with anger.  I think talking with her would send us both loony.  I have yet to find my peace.

Dear Peace,
Are you absolutely sure that your friend rejected your son?  Might she have done what she perceived to be best for her daughter?  Could she have known at the start of your friendship that she would later feel obligated to make a decision that would hurt you?
A difficult-to-grasp truth is that anger is about the one who is angry, not about the other person.  This is about you.  
Let’s Start Where You Are (an excellent book by Pema Choedron) - with your anger.  
This simple practice, 5–20 minutes a day, will move you through anger in a healthy, informative way.  

1.  Sit, simply observing: I am angry.

2.  Locate the anger in your body: describe how it feels.

3.  Drop the story.  

4.  Drop questions, analysis.  

5.  Be aware of your breath.  Breathe into the anger, not trying to change it.

6.  Stay in your body.

7.  Repeat these steps.
Anger is a mask for hidden emotions too scary to acknowledge, e.g. fear, betrayal, rejection.  When your masked emotions reveal themselves in your practice, sit with them in the same way you sat with anger.
Acting out anger – yelling, hitting, name calling – is running away from truth.  Staying present with anger allows it to transform.  
If you practice, please share your experience.
Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge, VA. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks.  Email questions to, or use online form at

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