Anybody can become angry. But to be angry… at the right time and for the right purpose is not within everybody’s power. – Aristotle
What does that mean?
This is a popular quote, but shortened for twitter. The longer version is: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
This quote is about anger, and how easy it is to get wrong. The long version of the quote lists quite a few ways in which an anger can go wrong. It lists the following ‘dimension’ for anger:
– the correct person
– the correct amount
– at the proper time
– towards the proper end
– in the correct manner
The quote believes that anger, properly expressed, should match all of these dimensions of the anger to the offense which generated the anger. I have to agree, that doesn’t sound easy to me. Others believe that self discipline will be sufficient, and find it to be a useful tool.
The quote also implies that some people may not be able to accomplish this task. While I would like to think that it is not so, I have both observed and experienced an anger in which one or more of these dimensions has been exceeded. The particularly hot-headed may not be up to the task, becoming lost in the emotion.
Why is properly handling anger important?
Some argue that there is never a time for anger. They argue that compassion is always the better choice. I won’t engage in that debate, but acknowledge that they may be correct in that assertion.
However, we’re all human, and anger will be a part of our lives from time to time. And when that happens, what will you do? If you don’t know how to handle it, things can get ugly fast. Can you imagine a fully grown man throwing a temper tantrum like a two year old?
Obviously, if you cannot stop it completely, you should express it in the smallest possible fashion. Try for the correct person, the minimum amount, time it well, get the best result, and in the proper manner. That’s not going to be easy.
But what about holding it in? In my experience, holding it in won’t work any better. Yes, you might have some minor benefit for the first few episodes, provided they’re small enough. But the anger doesn’t go away. It is stored, and comes out and multiplies the anger which released it.
Where can I apply this in my life?
How to control and direct the energy of anger can be a difficult thing to learn. I won’t claim to know how to do so, but there are some things which have helped me over the years. If any of you are experts, or have methods which have helped you, please feel free to share them.
As I implied in the last paragraph of the prior section, releasing or directing the anger works well for me. When I was little, I had a pillow, then a stuffed animal which was designated as something I could pound on when the repressed anger and stress needed to be let out.
As I grew older, I needed it less and less, and eventually got to the point where I could use my imagination to release the anger and the stress. I have also become a bit more laid back, and fewer things annoy me to the point where I get angry.
One other trick was to diminish the intensity. Did that person “stab you in the back” or was it a misunderstanding? Did it “hurt like an ice pick stabbed through my heart” or was it just something mildly annoying? Could you feel the difference in you as you read the two phrases? If so, this technique might help you.
What are some of the things that tend to make you angry? When are you most likely to become angry? Are there times or situations when you are more apt to take things in the worst possible way? Are there topics or aspects of your life where you are more sensitive in how things are done?
What do you do to release the anger, or to ensure it is properly sized and applied? What do you do to avoid or redirect your anger when it does come? Have you thought about any of these things before? Or do you simply deal with each situation as it occurs?
There are no right or wrong answers, but I would urge you to consider these questions and try to find answers which work for you. There are many methods, and some will work better than others. Try, observe, adjust, repeat.
From: Twitter, @gcu
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aristotle132211.html
Photo by keith ellwood
- Screw you! The psychology of anger and aggression | Dean Burnett (theguardian.com)
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- Lady Anger: A Radical Act? (taikonenfea.wordpress.com)
- Parenting and Anger, Let’s Get Real (parents-are-people-too.com)