Courage Versus Anger
On the first day of my NLP training workshop, our trainer Col Sudip Mukerjee asked us to name our biggest strength. He told us that our greatest strengths are also our biggest weaknesses and he could prove that.
“Courage” I muttered wanting to challenge the gentleman and wondering how that could be also my greatest weakness.
“You have trouble controlling your anger,” he said.
Dang! He was right. And I was none too proud of it.
But as the days progressed and I was able to decode the patterns in my brain, I realized temper was just a small part of my problem. The biggest block in my ability to move forward was my unresolved anger—tons and tons of it carried forward from almost nineteen years.
Ten years ago, I stood on the cold hospital floor feeling scared, desolate and helpless. Lying on the bed in front of me was my husband who was fast losing consciousness. As H lay writhing in agony, all I wanted to do was collapse on to the floor and howl my lungs away.
But as the monitors beeped away and H’s condition worsened, I experienced what you called a paradigm shift. I realized that at that moment, I was the only person who I could trust. The doctors and nurses who were milling around were strangers.
So I stood up, walked over to H’s bed and started talking about the “Friends” episode that both of us had watched thirty six hours ago. As I described each scene, I watched for signs of engagement—the curve of lip, the nod of head. I asked questions and nodded excitedly even as garbled sounds escaped his mouth. After talking about “Friends”, I started talking about cricket.
Finally when a cousin appeared, I left H in his care, walked over to the doctor’s table and told him that the MRI had to be pushed forward because H’s condition was fast deteriorating. The doctor replied that the earliest slot was in the evening which was a good ten hours away. I don’t remember the conversation that followed but I remember walking away from his table saying that if something happened to H in the mean time, I would sue the entire hospital. H had his MRI after an hour.
Why am I talking about this incident now?
Because during all these years, I failed to acknowledge this resource I had.
I trivialized it. I told everyone that I acted as though an external force was pushing me.
At that moment in the hospital, I had made a conscious choice. I had chosen vulnerability over certainty. I could have sat in a corner and cried. I chose not to. And in making that choice, I was truly present in the moment.
Our brain is a strange thing. It loves clinging to patterns we teach it to create.
Ten years down the line not only did I delete an important resource I owned but I also started telling myself damaging tales. Like how I needed lessons in anger management. As though anger came in denominations of fives, tens, hundreds and two thousands. As though I needed a certain minimum balance of anger in my system to function. As though anger could be catalogued, labeled and neatly filed away for future use. And as though anger could be used to generate a bigger anger which had a grand purpose in life.
It was not.
I hated the person I became when I was angry. I hated how my anger made me all small, mean and judgmental. I hated how it made me feel tired all day long. I hated how it made me doubt my capabilities.
But I also knew one thing— I did not own this anger. It came from outside. It came because I let that one single person have power over me. So when I was saying, “I feel tongue tied in front of strangers”, I was actually referring to a person inside my head who was forcibly trying to tie up my tongue when I was in the presence of strangers. And the most liberating feeling? I finally realized I was was not that person!
NLP and Being Present
On 22nd November, when Col Sudip Mukerjee explained to us about the PP (Perceptual Positions)technique, I was ready to face this person who was inside my head. It was the most intense time in my life. Once again, I felt vulnerable and uncertain. But I also knew that I had to do this to purge my system of all the negativity I had accumulated over the years. Finally, I was standing in that position where I could vent out all the anger I always wanted to. The person in my head lay standing before me. Not only that, I now had the wisdom and the ability to understand why the person who was tying up my tongue did what they did all these years. I could be “that person” “listen to” and “absorb” all “my anger”.
It was a powerful yet humbling realization. I could finally stop hating the person inside my head.
I completed the session and felt a lightness envelope my entire being. It was as though at the end of those twenty minutes, I had given birth to a new “Me”.
Tying it all up
This is what I had written on the first day in my notebook:
After last Thursday, I did not take out that book from my bag. Today, when I took it out to click a picture of it, I realized how everything inside me/outside of me seems to have changed as though they have become a part of my default mode network.
My cravings for junk food have totally stopped.
I go to bed before 10:00.
The one and a half hour of afternoon siestas have stopped. I take smaller cat naps instead.
I go for longer walks.
Dang! I sleep on the wrong side of the bed (What was that?) and wake up refreshed.
P, who returned from hostel two days ago was totally zapped seeing the happy, non dramatic Mommy.
J says “no” just like me and I listen when he says that.
But the funniest thing was when J looked at me one evening and said, “Amma it seems you are no long auditory. You seem to be turning Kinesthetic.
That boy of mine!!
If you are looking for ways to empower yourself, NLP is the way for you. And if you are looking for a trainer, Col Sudip Mukerjee from Anchor NLP is the man for you. He is firm, straightforward and constantly challenges you to identify your damaging patterns and embrace new, affirming ones.
A few of my friends have asked me if there are sessions of shorter duration(less than six days).
To them, I would say this: Where you have spent the last three, four or five decades in forming damaging patterns, why not invest in six days and embrace a more authentic version of you? For if you don’t invest in yourself, who else will?
A few pictures from the session:
The Lightweaver and I hugging each other. It had been one incredible journey.
Two happy clients:
And finally my certificate:
(C): Sridevi Datta