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 Blooming Stars

Managing Anger

            Unhappiness results when desires are frustrated, when expectations are thwarted. Unhappiness leads to frustration, and frustration leads to depression or anger and aggression. Depression can lead to despair, paralysis, and even suicide. Anger often ends in verbal or physical aggression. Verbal abuse often can lead to physical abuse. Anger is one of the primary emotions that help persons cope with life’s events. People generally think of it as a negative, bad emotion. Like any other emotion, it is neither bad nor good. When properly managed and channeled, it can be a constructive, motivating energy for achieving one’s goals.

            It can mobilize scattered energy into a concentrate just enough to realize one’s immediate aim that otherwise might not have been reached. It can drive a person to higher and higher levels of excellence as well as success. In an impulsive person, it can be a destructive and devastating force. St. Paul writing to the Ephesians said: “Be angry, but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger (4, 26 &31)”. It is alright to be angry as anger has a rightful place in the nature of things; but it should not lead to unwholesome behaviors. Nursing prolonged bitterness, anger, and wrath can pave the way for grudge and even revenge. Harboring any kind of resentment, malice, and a desire for retaliation is not conducive to healthy spiritual, mental, and physical life.

             It is of utmost importance to keep in mind that other people or events beyond our control cannot make us angry. My clients often used to say: “So and so made me so mad”. And I corrected them saying: “You let yourself get angry”. In final analysis we allow ourselves to be affected by others or events; we allow ourselves to get angry and upset. We know, for instance, the same or similar things said or done by different people have different effects on us. People who are close to us affect us more intensely than others who are not. If we do not want to be affected by others, we need to stay emotionally distant from them. But that is not helpful either. Our life would be emotionally very poor. As there cannot be a mountain-top without a valley, there cannot be intense joy without intense pain. A rich life is one of contrasts. How we lead our life is our choice.

            Taking responsibility for our anger can help us control and direct our anger. When in anger it is wise not to say or do anything. It is wise not to make any impulsive decision. It is wise not to punish our children in anger. We are liable to use more force than necessary. We do not want to say or do anything that we will regret later or that will get us just the opposite of what we want. Here it may be important to say that I am totally against physical punishment as it relates only to the animal part of a human being. If we examine ourselves we will have examples of things that we did or said in anger that we regretted later on. Fear and anger can be deadly. We have heard the story of the lady killing her pet mongoose that saved her child’s life from a deadly snake. Seeing blood on the mouth of the mongoose, she wrongly assumed that it had hurt her child. In reality the mongoose had killed the snake. When things done in anger, even our so-called victories are Pyrrhic in nature.If not properly managed even our righteous anger can destroy us as well as others.


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