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Anger is something which is very common and very difficult issue to deal with. I struggle daily. I try to keep my anger as my slave but the reverse always happens.
We had a good week discussing about anger with lots of ideas regarding what anger is and what it can do and there were also many suggestions, advises and steps to get rid of anger.
But one thing I marked in all the discussions that the step to manage anger is an act of deliberation. We have to take steps deliberately to get rid of our angry attitude.
Whether we move out from the place where anger can be flared or say a sweetest ever sorry to the person concerned, are deliberate actions.
Instead of getting angry we can also take a deliberate step of taking a time out or few seconds off to get the right perspective by going for a jog or doing something else than moving around the “anger spot.”
It is a deliberate action to keep our mouth shut and not utter a single word when we are angry or else we can hurt so many people. Another instance will be when we come across a person who is often angry with us, we should make sure we treat him well so that we heap coals of fire on his head.
We need to understand the fact that we can only control our own selves, the sooner we realize that, the sooner we’ll be on our way to mastering our anger.
We all know when anger takes over awful things can happen. Anger is a bondage. It’s a natural emotion but if not controlled at the right time it can be devastating even to the point of murder. As the scripture says –
“Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.”
Let’s be liberated from the bondage of anger by deliberately taking the steps that can put off the anger within us.
“ANGER” is deeply rooted in human life & sometimes we feel like using our ‘Anger’ as if it is our birth-right. Sometimes a small kid also yells at his mother when his mother stops him to play in the mud. Anger can easily be found in all starting from a one year kid to an old person. “We all begin and end our lives with anger and anger only, but what do we get out of it all?” – This question pricks me sometimes.
In my life I have done many mistakes due to my short-tempered attitude. In my last interview, my Director asked two questions and the most embarrassing question for me was, “you have written your weakness is “short-temper” and if you remain like this, how can you work with us?” So, ‘Anger-Management’ is still one of my learning factors.
Thomas A’ Kempis says, “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you can make yourself as you wish to be”. That’s true indeed, when someone causes us pain, we immediately get angry with that person and try to do our best to correct that person, but all the while holding our anger. Once, a very dear person to me did something wrong and that resulted in an unbearable pain/heart break. And then out of anger I wrote a letter to that person which is the worst letter I have written till date (literally full of slangs), which even today after my realization I cannot correct. So I urge you never to do such foolish things in order to prove yourself.
In my struggle with managing my anger I discovered two beautiful solutions;
- Move-out: Years back my uncle taught me a very beautiful thing – “move-out”. Moving out from the place/situation which causes you to anger. If you are in your office/home/peer group and something takes place which literally makes you angry, then immediate (asap) move-out from that place. Try to do something good or your most favorite work. Like, take a long ride, listen to your all time hit songs, go-out to play or eat your most favorite food. This effort of yours will change your mind. Unless and until we forget our anger we cannot live happily. The Bible says, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26). Holding our anger is giving sin a foothold, which later on turns into our graveyard causing us to do some crime or earn unnecessary sickness.
- Sweet Sorry: Anger always breaks our relationship but the sweet word “Sorry” restores our broken relationship. Today late in the afternoon I had a beautiful experience of it. “I went to the State Bank of India to deposit some money. At the counter, the bank employee unknowingly gave me the token number for normal cash deposit whereas he was supposed to give me the Green-Card cash deposit token and then he went outside. After a long time when my number came I went to the cash deposit counter but the banker refused to do my transaction because I was having the wrong token. Again I went to the 1st counter and questioned another man that, “why have you given me this token where as I have to deposit my cash by using Debit card?” And in return that man questioned me with little high pitch voice, “Did I give you? Then why are you questioning me?” With this reply from him, I failed to hold on to my patience and started screaming at him. Immediately, that man changed my token and as I was standing in the queue he came forward and very sweetly he asked me in Bengali that, “Dada, are you angry on me?” With a different look I said “NO” even though I was angry on him. But as I was standing there, God spoke to my heart that, “Still you are holding your anger! Look at that man he has forgiven you. Go and tell him ‘SORRY’.” Before leaving the bank I went to his desk and said “Dada, sorry to be angry upon you”. Immediately that person gave me a loving hug and came with me up to the entrance door”. That’s really so sweet!!! A simple word “Sorry” gave us another opportunity to come closer in our relationship, a loving hug in emotion and a great moment of remembrance. If a single word sorry can give us so many things then why don’t we be a good businessmen and achieve more in regard to Love and Relationship. The Bible says, “Be kind to each other, sympathetic, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you through Christ” (Ephesians 4:32). That’s the reason why even though we are born and brought up in sin, still God loves us by forgiving our sins. Then being His creation why don’t we follow Him! In our relationship with our fellow human beings let’s say sweet sorries with forgiveness.
SHALL WE MOVE-OUT & SAY SWEET SORRY???
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All of us experience “uncontrollable rage” at times. It is a feeling of being out of control; it is an acute negative and evil feeling which I really cannot describe in words. I remember the first I got into an anger of this kind. It was a fight with my husband and I know that I was feeling completely taken over by somebody else. I said harsh and bitter things which I really did not mean but it was almost like a devil taken over me wanting to hurt everybody around me. I later realized that it was a feeling of extreme helplessness that made me so angry and so harsh.
Like they say – words once spoken cannot be taken back. Anger does no good to anybody. There have been instances where I have broken things in anger and hit myself (because I cannot hit the other person), only to deeply regret later on. Anger makes you do things that you could be extremely ashamed of.
After a couple of such incidents, I figured out a way to handle my anger. Every time I feel out of control and have an urge to spit out poison on the other person or go violent, I just take a second off to get the right perspective – then I just put on my running shoes and go for a jog. The first time I did this, I ended up running almost 5 Kilometers non-stop because there was just so much angry energy inside me. After the running, I usually get so tired that there is no energy left even to argue with somebody. Then usually the next day, I talk calmly with the concerned person to get issues resolved. I have even done this at my professional life as well and it works without fail for me.
This is my way to handle the uncontrollable rage, but everybody has a different way to do this. It is very important to know what works for you. It is also a test of your own will power.
So, take some time off and think what your behavior is when you are angry and what could work for you to get over that heated moment.
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…awful things can happen.
Take, for example, the woman who killed herself – why – because he had a tiff with her husband. In her anger, she wrote a suicide note, talking about her fight with her husband, then hung herself. This was in the news very recently.
When you think about anger, you think an outburst of rage, maybe a few days of contempt-filled silence. When did anger become such an extreme feeling? When did the line between anger and rage become blurred?
Why don’t we talk about collective anger? What happens when a mob goes into such a frenzied rage that they lynch members of a family, on the basis of just a meagre rumour that they were eating beef! (they were in fact, eating mutton).
When was the last time you were angry? Do you remember how you behaved? Was it justified?
I believe there is no use of all the self-help books, all the talks and seminars (though they help), or all the therapy sessions – if introspection does not come from within.
Can we spend a moment today to think about how we get angry? How we react to anger, or how we retaliate? On a deep level, let us admit that we are at fault, and make a conscious change, today. If the change does not begin with us, we should not expect it from our near and dear ones, or from our society and the world.
Are you aware of what a forest fire is?
It is considered to be the most common natural disaster eating up our evergreen cover. Forest fires basically start with a friction between dry leaves which in turn cause a spark. This spark takes a humongous form engulfing one tree after another, gradually growing in size. The undergrowth is also not spared. Thus, large forests are burned down naturally leaving behind ashes. The nature of fire is to consume and it has a never-ending appetite. So is the case with anger.
Anger is that strong emotion of displeasure aroused by a wrong or a wrath. This feeling is so strong that it weaves and generates destruction all round. It wreaks havoc. One breaks things, picks up quarrels, and commits homicide in a state of anger. Psychologists say that when we get angry, we cease to think about everything else but the cause of it. It’s quite true as through experience, I can say that when we are angered, a fire literally passes through our body. It seems as if our insides burn out, our head feels like bursting, our hands roll up into a fist and our teeth clenches. We become a representation of a miniature devil from down under. However, one fact stands firm, anger is outrageous and downright evil.
So, how do we manage this evil emotion?
- Firstly, do not utter a word when you experience anger or you will end up hurting people around you.
- When angry surround yourself with people you trust and who care for you as that will prevent you from hurting yourself.
- View the cause of your anger from a different perspective other than your own.
- Condemn anger if you see it formulating in another person by distancing yourself away till the person is calm and receptive.
- Use words that are soft and not grievous as that can stir up anger. One needs to understand the intensity of the situation and not heat things up.
- Be swift to hear, think before speaking and maintain calmness.
- If you come across a person who is often angry with you, make sure you treat him well so that you heap coals of fire on his head.
In this connection, the words of William Shakespeare ring in my ears – “Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot, that it do singe yourself.” Anger can only be overcome with goodness. It should be nipped in the bud for as long as she lives, she continues to be the fruitful mother of many happy children.
The book Proverbs always has something to say about our practical living whatever may be the issues. I quoted few of the proverbs from the storehouse of wisdom which are really helpful for us in regards to managing our anger.
They are as follows:
Overlooking is desirable: When we get angry when we are insulted we try to counter attack or reply back. But according to Proverbs we need to overlook an insult. That’s what a prudent man does. “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Another verse says, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” So its always wise to overlook or drop the matter/insult. One more verse I want to quote, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Overlooking an offense has always given the individual an upper hand.
A Gentle Answer is desirable: When we are attacked or face an angry man/woman, we should always answer gently to avoid further quarrel. That’s why it is written, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If we give a gentle answer the opposite person would calm down and may ask forgiveness also.
Patience is desirable: When we are under attack of verbal arrows or when we face insults/disputes, we always need to be patient. As it is written, “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.”. Patience can really calm down a certain quarrel and solve the matter. There another verse which says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” Again further it says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience;” So a person with wisdom or a wise man always learns to be patient and control himself.
The Proverbs are very practical and follow-able. Let’s learn the things that are desirable for controlling anger and its deadly effects. A gentle answer, patience and overlooking the matter are the major things that are really desirable in life.
There’s a simple way to begin the journey of mastering your anger. One of the first things you can do is simply learn how to differentiate personal goals and good desires. A good desire is something that you want to do but is ultimately decided by many other factors other than your own ability and willpower. Put simply, a good desire can be thwarted by others, while a personal goal is something that only you can stop, whether by action or inaction. A personal goal is something that is directly within your influence and no one else’s. There are two things we should consider about anger in this regard. One, is that anger reveals inability; and two, anger is all about influence. These two facts about anger essentially state the same thing in two different ways: If you have no ability in a situation, then it lies outside your personal influence. I will use a common example we can all certainly empathize with, “road rage”. Have you ever been cut off in traffic and become angry? I may as well ask you if the Pope is Catholic. In other words, we all have. This reveals, simply put, that you have no control over that particular situation on the road. Your anger has revealed what should be an axiomatic, self-evident inability to change the traffic patterns and control other drivers’ actions. In that moment, your anger simply reveals that at some point in the past you made a good desire (ex: arriving to work on time) into a personal goal that others can influence and change. When that goal was threatened or stopped, you become angry because someone else was treading on your “territory”. Problem is…it was never your territory to begin with and it was never meant to be. That is why you became angry. A goal should be something that you can achieve personally without interference of someone else. Such as being the best son or daughter you can be or the best worker at the office. You can only control you, the sooner you realize that, the sooner you’ll be on your way to mastering your anger. Most people with “anger issues” really have “control issues” because–without knowing it–they are attempting to make other people and events their personal goals instead of themselves, the only thing they have control over. Isn’t that why they call it a “personal goal” anyways? A “desire” is something else entirely. You can have a desire to get to work on time or a desire to have a happy, healthy home but you have no direct control over those things. It’s perfectly fine to have good desires but when those become misappropriated with personal goals, the tension begins. If you can differentiate things from a desire and a goal (while putting them in their proper place), you will master your anger. As soon as something that ought to be a desire becomes a goal, you will find yourself angry if something or someone threatens you to prevent you from achieving your goal. If you become angry at someone, this simply reveals that you are angry because they stopped you from achieving a desire that you’ve made into a personal goal. For example, you desire to have a happy family but if you make it your personal goal to have a happy family, when someone outside of your circle of influence (wife, husband, children, etc.) blocks that goal, you WILL become angry. Whereas if you make it your personal goal to be the best father to your children and husband to your wife, you can control that and no one will be able to stop it except for you.
(*This information was adapted from the chapter “You Can’t Live Beyond What You Believe” in Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. I take no credit for what I’ve learned. I only desire to share it with you in the hopes that it helps you along your journey.)
Author’s Bio: THADDEUS BON COEUR is an american who is an amazing writer and a very good teacher of Moral Vales and Ethical Living.