May 3

Today's quotation:

You don't have to accept the invitation to get angry.
Instead, practice forgiveness, empathy and encouragement.

Dan Fallon

Today's Meditation:

Anger isn't exactly a natural response to given situations.  While we might have learned that anger is appropriate and somehow inevitable at times, the fact remains that anger is a choice--though most of us have lost our ability actually to make that choice when we want or need to.

Anger tends to make us feel somewhat self-righteous, and that's a tempting feeling to go after.  We like to feel that we're right and someone else is wrong--our egos thrive on that sort of thing.  But the problem is that anger doesn't actually make us feel better--it simply makes us feel superior.  And it almost never helps a situation, while it often makes things worse.

There are options to anger, and forgiveness is one of them.  Forgiving someone doesn't necessarily mean that you condone a certain action, but it does allow us all to get past it.  And the more empathy I feel for others, the less likely I am to get angry when someone does something that I think is wrong.  Encouraging another person to find different ways of doing things can add a positive element to the lives of everyone involved, too.

If we look for the excuses, we always can find reasons to be angry.  But if we try our best to understand the elements involved in an occurrence or another person's action, then we'll find that by practicing understanding and compassion, we can make our lives brighter by avoiding the trap of anger's invitation.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things make you angry?  Why?  What other responses may be appropriate, other than anger?

What would the world be like if more people were able to choose responses other than anger?

In your experience, is anger generally constructive or destructive?

For further thought:

Anger is the most futile emotion one can experience.
It is totally negative and feeds on one's irrational,
vindictive, and punitive nature.  It accomplishes nothing
but a wider rift between persons, a growing
dissatisfaction with self, and empty feeling
where loving understanding ought to be.

Louise Doud


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