Managing Anger

Notice we don't have phrases like, "managing happiness" or "managing love." Though, maybe, we should.

But there are anger management classes. Anger, if left unchecked, can and does kill.

We carry inner fuses based on our understanding of right and wrong, mixed with unhealed pain from the past.

If somebody says or does something that violates our sense of right and wrong or says or does something there reminds us of a past hurt, it's bombs away.

The knee jerk reaction is to punish the other. Say something terrible. Stare daggers. Throw a punch. Or worse.

That kind of reaction is a somewhat childish attempt to change the other person and make them submit to your understanding. Nine out of ten times, if not ten out of ten, the strategy fails and creates more of the same.

Anger is inherently upsetting, which is not a "bad" thing. It is very likely our greatest humanitarians felt their fair share. It's just that instead of reacting to it, they used it as a motivating force to work for their particular cause.

Usually, we want to get rid of anything that upsets us right away. That's understandable but not conducive to evolution.

What if we could let anger be there for awhile? That is, allow ourselves to be upset. Instead of plotting revenge, we can observe our mind and all its destructive thoughts. We can take a little time and breathe. Quite likely, there is some lesson here for us.

As we take time, some of the angry charge begins to settle. This is when more constructive responses start to arise. And, yes, sometimes it is a good idea to walk away from the fight (in all senses of the term).

Anger is a unique emotion in that it points us to very specific areas in ourselves that require examination.

That's the invitation at least. You can still drop a bomb, but we know how that story ends.