Breathe Issue 12

Anger, fear, guilt. Emotions can bubble under for years (or spill over in seconds) with devastating effect. Take our tricky trio here. They are pernicious customers who can limit life choices, inhibit personal enjoyment and stifle relationships.

Why is it, for instance, that so many people feel bad when they have no transgressions for which to answer? Their only crime, as they see it, might be to allow themselves an extra 10 minutes in bed of a morning or half an hour’s meditation at night. Hardly deserving of a life sentence yet that’s what is meted out when guilt, fear and anger are allowed to do their worst.

But there are ways to escape the tyrannical grasp of this emotional triumvirate and stop handing down self-imposed punishments. Used constructively and carefully, anger has the power to be a catalyst for change and to liberate and heal, while fear can be turned on its head and transformed into excitement. It’s not easy and it requires self-belief but there is a choice when approaching the new or challenging as well as an opportunity to use fear’s nervous energy to see beyond what’s comfortable and safe.

Imagine what might be waiting on the other side… creative pastimes and careers, long written-off childhood passions, happiness in one’s own company. And more self-belief and confidence. Enough confidence, perhaps, to eat out alone, to catch a movie by oneself or even go on holiday unencumbered by other people’s expectations and demands, blissfully pursuing a solo agenda. Imagine it all. And let go of the guilt.