October 16     

Today's quotation:

Anger cannot be overcome by anger.  If a person shows anger to you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster.  In contrast, if you control your anger and show its opposite-- love, compassion, tolerance, and patience-- then not only will you remain in peace, but the anger of others also will gradually diminish.

the Dalai Lama

Today's Meditation:

I always have to smile a bit when I hear people claim just how "healthy" it is to express their anger, providing strong rationalization to allow themselves to unleash negative and often destructive energy upon the world.  I've seen several of these people do some very significant damage, and it's hard to watch sometimes, especially when the damage is done to other people.  Part of the reason they do the damage is because in the expression of their anger, they mount personal attacks on the people they're angry with, doing their best to hurt them.

If we do express our anger, it's very important that in that expression, we stick solely to what we're angry about.  If a child has drawn on the walls with markers, it's fine to say "I'm very angry that you drew on the walls with markers," which addresses the behavior without demeaning the person.  Unfortunately, many people say things like, "How could you do something so stupid," which sounds to the child like you're calling him or her stupid-- a personal attack that is bound to hurt.

Even better, though, would be to control our anger and sit down with the child and ask them why they did it, and demonstrate just how impossible it is to clean marker off the walls-- and then repaint that part of the wall with the child.  Who knows?  It could be that that particular wall needed repainting to begin with, and the child's act is simply the catalyst that you needed to actually get the job done.  We don't know the inner and invisible workings of the world, and it could be that the thing that got us angry is the best thing for us-- and expressing our anger would cause more damage than good.

So much of our anger is simply self-righteous indignation, anyway.  If, when we find ourselves in a situation that causes us anger, we were to step back and try to understand it instead of simply getting angry, we may find a silver lining that helps us out in life.  And if we are able to step back and find the loving response instead of the angry response, what we put into the world then will be much more positive all the way around, and we won't be contributing to the negative energy that abounds in our world today.

Questions to consider:

What are some options to expressing anger when we find ourselves feeling mad?

What would it be like if everyone found loving responses rather than angry ones?

Why do so many people feel justified in expressing their anger in destructive ways?

For further thought:

In living our day-to-day life, we may have been involved in situations where tempers flared out of control.  Although anger may be considered a natural, self-protective reaction in moments of great frustration, "meeting fire with fire" often seems to compound the problem.  Usually a moderate approach is best, and water, not fire, extinguishes a fire. . . Learning the art of giving "a soft answer" can give you an advantage in moments of great tension, when emotions tend to take over.

John Marks Templeton

Worldwide Laws of Life

more thoughts and ideas on anger



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