On Being an "Expert"

Tomorrow evening I will be driving all the way to Derry, NH to facilitate a workshop called "Befriending Anger." This is the first in a whole series of workshops about befriending emotions, and not surprisingly, all sorts of different emotions have been popping up for me to practice befriending in the past several weeks.

Last night it was fear: Fear that I am not actually an expert on anger. Fear of pretending to be an expert on something I'm not. Fear that my need to impress people tomorrow night would prevent me from actually connecting with them, that my inauthenticity would be the death knell of the workshop, and that I would leave feeling horrible.

While feeling horrible about a workshop wouldn't kill me -- been there, done that! -- the fact is, I don't want to feel bad about it. I want to feel great about it! I want to leave feeling like everyone in the room got something of value, including me. I want to have no regrets about driving 2 1/2 hours in rush hour traffic, or offering the workshop for free, because I got to spend quality time with interesting people, each of us discovering new things about ourselves and each other that will make a real difference for our lives and relationships. That's what this whole Gift of Happiness thing is about!

And here is another insight that came from listening to my fear: Even if I were an expert on anger in general, that wouldn't make me an expert on anyone in the room tomorrow night, how anger works for them, or what anger might have to teach them. But I do have a lot of experience with the practice of befriending, and that is the key word in the title, "Befriending Anger."

This is not a workshop about "managing" anger, or using anger effectively, or letting anger go, or anything else you may want to do with it. It's about shifting your fundamental relationship to anger, to start looking for its gifts, which will in turn open up new insights and possibilities for handling difficult situations.

It will be an awesome conversation, and I am excited for it!