Shifting Gears: Going Backwards or Forward?

Shifting Gears: Going Backwards or Forward?

Oh, dear! I did it again. Shifted gears. Things were going along smoothly, everyone was feeling good, the vibrations were pleasant and then I shifted gears. I guess you could say that I shifted into reverse.

Someone said something that "pushed my button", and I shifted out of a positive and calm head-space, into one where anger and impatience were grinding their wheels. I shifted from high gear directly into, not only a lower gear, but actually reverse. I let my anger pour out, and "dumped" it all over. Everyone who was present got an earful, and the energy was "yucky" to say the least.

I felt like I'd stepped back into an old version of myself... the one who used to be there... the one who had a very short temper, and who got impatient so easily. Where did the wonderful 'enlightened' person go? Was this a case of split personality? Had I undergone a "regression" of sorts?

Going Backwards or Forward?

Shifting Gears: Going Backwards or Forward?After my outburst, I left the office to go run some long delayed errands. I felt close to tears. What had gone on? Why had I been so petty and let anger take me over? I had been feeling so proud of my patience and lack of anger, and here it was rearing its ugly head. I felt so disappointed with myself. Hadn't I learned anything yet? Was I going backward in my development instead of forward?

What I came to understand was that a lot of this anger had been stored in me for a while. An event that had happened many times before and about which I had held back my feelings happened again. I had not originally expressed what I felt and what I wanted. Thus the resentment or frustration was already building up in me, and this additional occurrence became the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

This situation may feel familiar to you. A co-worker (substitute "friend", "family member", etc.) had asked me to do something (which I didn't want to do) and rather than be clear and say that I didn't want to do it, I said I would do it "later". This was simply my way of not "disappointing them" by saying no, and at the same time not having to do what I didn't want to do in the first place.

Not Really A "Win-Win" Situation

At the time, it seemed like a "win-win" situation. Everyone was happy. They were happy because they were getting what they wanted, or at least had a commitment from me they would get what they wanted later. And I was happy, because I had gotten out of doing what I didn't want to do. I'd deal with the situation "later".

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Later came and she asked if I would do it before I left to do my errands. This triggered my impatience (and guilt) and frustration at having to face this situation again. The fact of the matter is that if I had been open in the first place, and shared that I did not want to do this particular thing, the situation would never have occurred. But because of my initial "fudging", or lying actually, I found myself caught in the trap of my own doing. I had agreed to do something which I did not want to do, but because of an ingrained difficulty in saying no, I found myself feeling like a cornered animal... angry, fearful, and lashing out at whatever was in front of me.

There Are No Secrets

After this scenario, I was left with the very clear reminder that it is always best to speak your truth and say what you are feeling. Sometimes we hold back thinking that we are protecting the other's feelings. But that is not true. Actually honesty is always the best policy.

There are no secrets in the Universe. We never really withhold anything from anyone because we psychically communicate our message. What this means, is that when we have some anger or resentment towards someone, they feel it even if we don't say a word, or even if we think we are "covering it up" really well. This then creates an undercurrent of tension and frustration, which only builds up to an explosion further along down the road.

Now I know that if there had been no cobwebs in the machinery of communication, the gears would not have automatically shifted themselves into reverse (anger). But since I had been dishonest with them and with me, the conclusion had to be an imbalance which needed to be "righted". 

Do You Think You're Hiding Something?

We can never run away from ourselves, and we can't run away from others either, because we carry them within us... We carry their memory, their words, their effect on us. Any time we think we are "getting away with something", we need to think again. We never "get away" from ourselves, and the people in our lives always help to bring out of us that which we think we are hiding...

The truth will always come out, so why wait and have the fear and anger and resentment both against ourselves and others fester? Better to live honestly with ourselves and honor the people in our lives with our trust and honesty. We all deserve to live in integrity. We will be better for it, and so will our world.

Recommended Book

Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety by Robert GerzonFinding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety
by Robert Gerzon

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About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on


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