Why ‘Letting Go’ of Anger Isn’t Enough

One time when, as a couple, we were disagreeing and getting heated with each other, a wise friend said, ďCanít you just laugh?Ē †This had the immediate effect of reminding us that the ego loves to be right and easily over-reacts and clings. By remembering to laugh we not only see the ego at play and defeat it at its own game, but it also enables us to not take ourselves too seriously. In that way we donít react to the accompanying emotions and move on much more quickly.

When emotions are running high and youíre trying to stay calm then itís easy to say, ďJust let go.Ē Especially to let go of anything that is causing disturbance or grievance. Letting go implies not reacting to a situation or holding on to feelings, which means taking a deep breath with awareness.

However, once some incident, challenging situation, or disharmony makes us want to let go, then itís already been picked up and is affecting us. Letting go doesnít always work: we can still feel the anger, frustration, hurt, or whatever emotion is attached to the situation. Fear and anger appear to be the main culprits here, and as much as we want to let go we often end up holding tight to the very thing that is causing pain. The ego is like a dog with a bone.

So rather than letting go we prefer to say, ďDonít even pick it up!Ē or ďDonít take it on!Ē This allows us to stay mindful and objective, to observe and witness the situation without ego getting the better of our feelings. We are mindful of what is happening without making it “our” story. Even if someone is screaming angrily, itís important to remember that we only lash out and hurt another when we ourselves are in pain, so that person must be hurting emotionally. We donít need to pick up that pain; we can let it stay where it came from.

Through mindfulness and meditation we see what is happening, the issues and feelings that are in play, and what emotion belongs where. We stay aware and non-reactive. So now our real guru is Lord Teflon, as nothing sticks to Teflon!


Award-Winning Authors Ed and Deb of Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World, are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Debís new novel is: Merging: Women in Love — what happens when you fall in love with the least likely person of the least likely gender? Ė and she is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harperabout a year ago


Sandy G.
sandy g.about a year ago

Easier said than done when you are in an extremely toxic relationship. It's good advice but obviously spoken by a couple on the same page. Sometimes, letting go of anger means simply walking away. Forever, if necessary. Some people refuse to compromise. That's when you have to walk.

And sometimes, as S.J.A. says, it IS very appropriate to react in anger. Just depends on the degree.

Judy Apelis
Judy Apelisabout a year ago

Thank you!!

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynikabout a year ago

Thank you for noticing :)

Genoveva M M.
Genoveva M G.about a year ago

Thanks for sharing

Anteater Ants
Anteater Antsabout a year ago

We anteaters are fairly calm animals by nature.

Marian A.
Marian A.about a year ago

Choose at the moment of incident. This applies to sorrow or any other "negative" emotion as well as anger. Holding on to the hurt just makes it fester,

Elena T.
Elena Poensgenabout a year ago

Thank you :)

ERIKA SOMLAIabout a year ago


Marian A.
Marian A.about a year ago