I’ve recently written about how to respond effectively to stressful situations, and now it’s time to write about how to respond effectively to anger.
One thing most of us do battle with each and every day is our temper. We encounter a situation that pushes our buttons just the right way, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re angry again, in spite of our best intentions!
In recent weeks, a number of realizations dawned on me, all of which have been leading me to this conclusion: the easiest way to deal with anger is to let go of it. Regardless what some may say, there are no constructive ways to handle anger; there is no healthy way to channel it, or to use it as a motivator for something else.
Anger toward someone or something hurts you more than it could ever hurt that person or thing or situation, or whatever the case may be. If your body is a living vessel, then anger is a poison that fills it up and slowly eats up its walls. It weakens you, it makes everything taste bad, look bad and feel bad. It not only makes your life miserable, it also shortens it.
Life is already too short as it is. Why waste even a single minute on anger? It doesn’t solve problems. Many times, it compounds them. When the situation could be solved much better by cooler heads, getting angry only makes things worse and eliminates a quick, efficient solution.
One of my defenses has been that my anger is oftentimes righteous. Why I mean by that is I believe I’m justified in getting angry with someone because he or she wronged me, or because the situation warranted it (perhaps it was idiotic or illogical). Unfortunately, life is full of such people or situations, so my days are often punctuated by episodes of anger. When there’s always a fire inside, one that usually smolders, but often burns, it ends up taking precious energy away from useful pursuits and leaves me spent at the end of the day.
What’s more, even in cases where the other person fully provokes me and I’m entitled to get good and angry, what I’ve discovered is that it’s not worth it. The desire for retaliation, or revenge, or for making things right, or for punishing the other person in some way, is more damaging to me than their crime, whether it be theft, or lies, or who knows what. Another thing that I’ve discovered is that life will deal with them in good time, and they’ll get a far more painful and fitting punishment than anything I could have done to them.
The thing is, everyone pays for what they’ve done, in one way or another, and they pay for it in this life, sooner or later. The more I live, the more I realize how true that is, because I’ve felt it on my own skin. I’ve paid plenty for some mistakes I made in the past, I’ll be paying for others in the future, and so will those people that have wronged me. I don’t need to do anything. They’ll all get what’s coming to them. We’ll all get what’s coming to each of us, and you can take that to the bank.
So, the best way to deal with anger is to simply let go of it. It’s a conscious decision that takes only a little willpower. Just take a deep breath, then as you breathe out, imagine that anger exiting your body. Let go of it. Let it evaporate away, and focus on the good things in life.
Each day is so short, and our time with our loved ones is so brief, that we must do all we can to use our time wisely. If we don’t, then we’re wronging them, and we’re wronging ourselves, and yes, we’ll pay for that, too.