Yesterday I got angry with somebody who didn’t do a good job at my apartment, renovation project is still on, by the way. I wasn’t present to evaluate the quality of his work when he finished. And after a few days I discovered that it wasn’t done properly. I got angry, blaming him for the bad results. The wave of rage went through my body when I saw it. An immediate burst of warmth starting at the centre and spreading all over, causing contraction which made it difficult to breathe. An impulsive, uncontrolled wave. I gave in to the raging waters and they took my body into the void. This full surrender experience didn’t take long though. Quickly I got back to my senses and the anger transformed into guilt. An uncomfortable insight flew by in a fraction of a second. So quick, almost slipping away, I managed to catch it though. I am not angry with the guy I am just anxious because this incident will extend the renovation period even more. A new obstacle has been introduced. I anticipate a prolonged invasion of my home and new engagements with the workers that I need to take care of. Actually it was my anxiety of the new imposed unwanted future.
My anger also didn’t stay long with me. After unleashing it, realising the anxiety behind it, guilt arrived. And not just the guilt that I screamed at the guy but mostly the guilt coming from realisation why this has happened in the first place. I got tired of these contacts with construction workers, done with the dust, discomfort. The process seems endless. All of these factors have piled up and I just want it to be done and want someone to fix it for me.
So, the poor guy got too much on his plate to fix. I dumped on him the responsibility, gave him trust and chose to withdraw, closed my eyes and waited till it is done. I decided to give away the control in order to have a personal comfort in the moment. What I didn’t do is take into account the future consequences of my actions. If the guy would be more adequate in his job we would all live in harmony, but that didn’t happen. This cascade of emotions was interesting to ride though. What was rooted in anxiety came out to the outside as anger and came back as guilt. Once I realised that chain, it felt homey. Like I know this journey well.
The anger felt somehow new to me, not in terms of emotion but in terms of allowing for it to be part of the process. By being the vehicle to move anxiety from the inner space to the outside world, it led the way out of the situation. When anger became guilt, the pace of this whole emotional race slowed down. Guilt opened up a space to reflect. What was I feeling guilty about? At first glance, I didn’t do anything wrong, yet, at a closer look I knew that the way I constructed the whole arrangement was triggered by my desire to outsource responsibility and escape difficulties. I just didn’t want to deal with it. As simple as that. So without anger, the anxiety would still be eating me from the inside, blocking my ability to find reason.
Guilt gave me space, it wasn’t a comfortable space but there was a possibility to move around my thoughts, looking for answers, putting fragments of this puzzle together. I managed to find the matching pieces, such as, the true reason why I felt guilty. Namely, I thought I gave trust to the guy to do his job well but actually I just didn’t want to engage with the reality and let it take its own course.
Something I imagined as trust was actually a manifestation of fear. Isn’t it a great reward after this rollercoaster ride? It is a pretty great feeling to see the dark side of what I call trust. Trust as an avoidance strategy feels like something new and important.