Port Royal; SC
“He who angers you conquers you.” – Elizabeth Kenny
“Anger is but short-lived madness.” - Horace
I recently heard a speaker saying that anger is normal, that we should expect to get angry so we need strategies to deal with it. There was a day I would have agreed, but I now realize that anger is an optional way to react – it is not a necessary part of being human. This begs the question – is anger as a tool effective?
The most obvious use of a display of anger is to intimidate, and less obvious is to passive-aggressively manipulate. We may well get by for a while bullying people or plotting and scheming, but ultimately it is us who loses. People drift away, and the ones who stay only stay because they are emotionally sick enough that they do not see that they have other options in life. Anger dumps massive quantities of chemicals in our system – if one has not been angry for a long time the changes in the body cause a feeling for a few days not unlike a bad hang-over. Anger literally poisons us from the inside out, especially so if we do not dissipate the energy caused by it or we hang on to grudges. It keeps us from being effective – we lose all subtlety and finesse and it drives obsessive thoughts to the extent that solutions to the issue are not apparent. It means giving away our power – far beyond allowing something to live rent-free in our head. As long as it occupies us it exacts a tremendous toll on all areas of our being. So, rather than focusing on anger management, would it not be more effective to focus on not giving away our power to start with?
Learning to observe ourselves brings on many revelations that do not seem logical at first. When we are angry, we certainly do not feel fearful – the chemicals in our system make us feel powerful and vindictive. But when we start becoming honest with ourselves and reflecting on our behaviors the old excuses we used to justify our excesses do not pan out anymore. One of the best tools to use is to pause when we feel ourselves getting heated up and make ourselves answer the question” “What am I afraid of?” The answers will be quite revealing and provide motivation for change. Anger for me always boils down to a few things. I fear losing something I have or not getting rid of something I don’t want. I fear not getting something I want or getting something I do not want. Self centeredness – plain and simple. Anger simply displays fear (anxiety) – which is but a lack of faith, and getting upset means we choose to allow our fear of the future to corrupt this current moment. And every moment of our life that we are mentally somewhere else is another moment we were not present for our life.
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