Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.
Anger is a tricky thing.
It is both an emotion and an attitude.
As an emotion, it is important for me to identify my feelings of anger and to process those feelings.
However, I’ve found that most of the time when I’ve been angry it is because of a perceived slight that I felt.
It is my reaction to the situation that causes the anger, not the circumstance or the actions of another person.
My anger usually grows out of arrogance: “I shouldn’t have to put up with this.”
I’ve allowed myself to get angry at the behavior of other drivers, whether they were driving too aggressively or driving 1 mph less than the speed limit.
Slow traffic is another opportunity for frustration to build into anger.
I’ve gotten angry when I’ve had to wait extra long to check out at the grocery store.
I’ve also indulged in anger while waiting for people who are late for an appointment.
Even my anger at the injustice toward another can be rooted in arrogance.
“How dare you attack someone in my family.”
There are ways to think about and talk about anger than stoke the anger and make it burn hotter.
And there are ways to process the anger that allow it to subside.
I always face the temptation to hang on to my anger as a justification to feel morally superior to the person who “made me angry.”
This only works against me.
If the person was acting with bad intent, I’m giving them what they want by being all worked up.
If the slight was unintentional, I’m getting worked up for no reason.
Many of the things I have the opportunity to get angry about fall into the latter category.
In those cases, I usually can reframe the situation in a way that allows me to let go of my opportunity to be angry.
It is important, however, to make sure that I completely let go of that opportunity. Otherwise, the anger just simmers below the surface and accumulates with other minor grievances.
It seems that there are many in the political world that are trying their best to cultivate my anger. Politicians, cable news, activists all seek to benefit from my anger.
But when I harbor anger, it just gives them power over me.
My mental and physical health are much better when I habitually ignore the opportunities to be angry.
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