Chapter 5.7 Anger


“Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Seneca  (3 B.C. – 65 AD)    Roman Philosopher

Anger is not a subtle emotion.  Anger summons our physical bodies, makes us turn red, gets us prepared to defend ourselves or to tear someone else down.  It is an emotion of now, the present.  We normally think that someone else has screwed us over, and we’re going to get back at him /her/them/it.

“Fool me once, Shame on you
Fool me twice, Shame on me.”
Chinese Proverb.

In reality, most anger is actually directed toward ourselves.  We have done something that has placed us in the role of the victim, and by getting angry, we try to blame someone else.  Remember, so much of life is about grabbing others’ energy.  Victims offer up their energy, then get mad when someone else tries to snatch it.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)   Swiss Analytical Psychiatrist

Anger is not a shield, although we might call it up to protect ourselves. Anger rallies our energy, increases our negative vibrations, stokes our adrenalin fire.  In fight or flight, it overcomes Fear, and is a good partner in war.  But Anger is also a response to our own personal shortcomings.

We all have outbursts of anger, and I doubt that we will ever be able to eliminate it from our emotional list.  Short spots of anger are actually probably good for us … gets the blood pumping into motivation.  Jumps us out of apathetic muck.

“Without our anger we would be continually stepped on, until we were totally squashed and ultimately exterminated.”
Road Less Travelled,   M. Scott Peck  (1936-2005)

Prolonged periods of anger, especially when it becomes a personality trait, begin to destroy the physical body and the emotional being.  Anger releases chemicals and enzymes into the system, the arteries tighten, and physical or mental disease sets in.  If this anger cannot be properly released in battle, it will just ferment and churn within our bodies.

Some people let Anger out physically.  How many chairs and fists have been broken in the dugout lately?  If you hold your anger inside yourself, the battle will be fought in your body.  Good cells are killed and wounded, bad cells mutate, and the heart hardens.

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”
Gautama Buddha (563 BC – 483 BC)    Spiritual Teacher/Founder of Buddhism

Very profound. So, here we are.  Anger was created to prepare the body for a physical battle, but if we try to release it physically, we may hurt someone (note that self is someone too.)  If we keep Anger inside, we will definitely hurt someone (self.)

So what do we do?  Show it the door!  Once you realize that most often, you have brought Anger to yourself … that you have a role in it, an attachment to it … letting it go makes more sense.

Anger is a defense mechanism, which solves nothing.  Positive actions solve things.  Negative actions aim to destroy.  Polarization lives off anger. How many arguments are ever won, where the opponent admits defeat, gives up her/his self-esteem and relinquishes his/her energy?

“In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for truth and have begun striving for ourselves.”
Abraham J. Heschel (1907-1972)   Jewish Theologian and Philospher

Anger can be fought with tolerance.  Remember that cultural heritage stuff?  We all came to our current place today under very different circumstances.  As much as many people fight change, we are all changing daily.  Debate and exchange of ideas are good roads to progress.  But if you want yourself heard, practicing tolerance and respect for the other person’s viewpoint will afford you a better audience.

You can’t expect to change someone’s viewpoint with your eloquent arguments alone.  Other factors will need to be weighed and sorted by the other person.  The role of every person in the exchange of ideas is to provide some information and to receive additional considerations.  Slipping to anger only shows a weakness of self … a weakness of self-control, self-confidence, and self-like.

“Speak when you are angry – and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”
Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990)   Educator/Author (The Peter Principle)


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