In Others’ Words: The Anger Remedy

The Remedy for Anger

 

The other night I decided to enter into a controversial debate . . . a conversation on Facebook, something I just don’t do. I wrote out my comment, editing it here and there, and then read it out loud to my husband Rob and my sixteen-year-old daughter, CJ.

Here’s how the conversation went afterward:

CJ: Can I say something?

Me: Sure.

CJ: You’ve told us if we’re angry about something, we should sleep on it and then decide the next day if we what we’d planned on saying is what we still want to say. 

Me: Silence.

CJ: And you sound like you’re angry, so maybe you should sleep on it . . .?

Rob (nicely) agreed with her.

We talked some more and here’s what I decided: It’s not about me being right or wrong in an argument or debate or “heated conversation” — call it what you will. Who is right and wrong will always change. The one thing I do know is that I don’t want to be an angry person.  Now that — being angry or not —  is a choice I can make every day, minute by minute. 

Rob and CJ and I talked for a while about caring more about not being angry than about being right. I thought of Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch watchmaker who, along with her family, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during WW11 — and who was sent to a concentration camp because of her actions. She must have chosen to let go of her anger over and over again. How else could she have forgiven one of the concentration camp guards when, years after the war, he asked for her forgiveness?

Stepping away from anger is a choice — and sometimes it starts by delaying it.

In Others’ Words: When has delaying saying something or doing something released you from anger?

 

 

 

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15 Comments

  1. August 29, 2017, 12:28 am   /  Reply

    There is an Afghan proverb that says, “If you go seeking vengeance after fifty years, you are being hasty.”

    I know…”‘Vengeance is Mine,’ saith the LORD.”

    But I figure He subcontracts.

    And for those of you out there, who thought the slaughter of innocents was a game…reports of my death have been exaggerated. Not greatly, but I am alive and remain.

    Fear the night, for I am in it.

    I am become Death, the Shatterer of Worlds.

    And I am coming.

    • August 29, 2017, 7:20 am   /  Reply

      I mean, usually I’m pretty laid back, but stomp on those who can’t defend themselves and “wishing one had not been born” is, for me, a place to start.

      I hope I never lose that crackling live-voltage of anger, because to forsake it would be a betrayal of those whose memory I swore to protect, after I could not defend their lives.

      • August 29, 2017, 9:43 am   /  Reply

        Andrew:
        I know you are a man of honor. And I know you have made promise — taken vows — that you will never forsake.
        And I respect you for that.

    • August 29, 2017, 9:40 am   /  Reply

      Andrew: Thank you for sharing the Afghan proverb. And I am thankful, so thankful, that you are still with us, dear friend.

  2. August 29, 2017, 6:23 am   /  Reply

    I know anger is not good for my body. Stress builds. Blood pressure rises. Muscles clench, especially in my jaw, every time I think about it the leak in the ceiling. A home repair nightmare.

    The best way, the only way I keep the anger at bay is to give the situation to God. Over and over. Minute-by-minute. It doesn’t mean I don’t still get angry, but I have to make a conscious effort to give it over, even as I take steps to get it fixed. I have to make that choice not to be angry, just like you said.

    • August 29, 2017, 9:42 am   /  Reply

      Angie:
      Your perspective reminds me (us) what our anger does to us. So often we think about what our anger will accomplish. How we will right a wrong. Or convince someone else we are right. Or whatever we think we’re going to do in that moment (or moments) of anger. But we forget what is happening to us physically and emotionally when we allow anger to rule and reign.

  3. August 29, 2017, 7:49 am   /  Reply

    The older I get the more I see few situations are worth anger. There are so many better options, like sleeping on it as you say, waiting to gather more info., or even laughing while remembering how many other critical situations turned out to be survivable and manageable, and, eventually, surely whatever this one is, will, too.

    • August 29, 2017, 9:45 am   /  Reply

      Dee:
      As you say, some perspectives come with time. Some attitudes have been learned the hard way. In the past, I might have waded into the fray … and then wished I hadn’t. Instead, I did have a very worthwhile discussion with my husband and youngest daughter. I was heard. And I listened. And I realized the greater value was not to be right or wrong, but to not be angry.

  4. Lori Altebaumer
    August 29, 2017, 9:19 am   /  Reply

    Thanks Beth. I can’t recall any times when I have said something in a moment of anger that I didn’t regret later on. Not the anger, but handling it in a way that wasn’t helpful to the situation. It’s not worth the remorse I’ll feel later on.

    • August 29, 2017, 9:52 am   /  Reply

      Lori: So well said. Anger is so often followed by regret.

  5. Paula
    August 29, 2017, 9:41 am   /  Reply

    Especially in comments on Facebook: is what you say , even in righteous anger, really going to change someone’s mind? I reposted something that said looters and destroyers of property should pay for the damage and someon posted back a pretty angry, caustic response. I didn’t block him like he thought I would but asked him to rethink his anger, that anger didn’t solve anything on either side ( the protesters or the victims). He never commented back. ” A gentle answer turneth away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” proverbs 15:1. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be mad enough to seek change by lawful means . And we should support the law enforcement and the military. If you talk to someone face to face in a calm, intelligent, logical manner, they are more likely to listen to you.
    Thanks for the insight. I enjoy your posts. Looks like you taught your daughter well!

  6. August 29, 2017, 11:28 am   /  Reply

    A very wise friend once helped me determine the difference between when anger was justified, and when something was just “a bummer.” When the moving company lost some of our items in transit? My first response was to be angry. But I realized, was a child harmed? Was a loved one’s life taken in murder? No. It was just stuff. When I feel angry, I try to evaluate the root of it, and then to decide if it’s worth being angry over that thing or situation. Most of the time, it isn’t. And, I’m even learning how to not react (in anger) when my boys push my buttons . . . 😉

    • August 29, 2017, 12:08 pm   /  Reply

      Jeanne: Ah, the button pushing … 😉
      Yes, well … delaying always gives us time to evaluate. To pause. To rethink. And to let anger evaporate, which is often the best course of action.

  7. Andrea Cox
    August 29, 2017, 11:52 am   /  Reply

    Wow, so impactful, Beth. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to take a step back and learn from your mistakes. It takes guts and bravery to do that. I am so proud of you!

    Yesterday I realized I instantly got frustrated at an unexpected thing that happened when I was trying to get some copyediting work done. This morning, I woke up with a prayer of regret on my lips, followed swiftly by a plea to grow from this experience. I want to learn to tame that trigger and cause it to be delayed and eventually nonexistent. I want to be content even when frustrating things pop up. I think being frustrated is okay at times (it’s a natural emotion that sometimes needs to be worked through), but acting on it or letting it steam me up isn’t okay for me. That’s what I’m working on today.

    • August 29, 2017, 1:00 pm   /  Reply

      Andrea:
      This blog is a safe place for me … and for others, I hope. And safety means honesty is allowed and encouraged.Thanks for joining the conversation today and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

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