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Anger: Let It Out . . . Then Let It Go March 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, People.

I enjoy being around positive people who look on the bright side of things ~ like Buddhists monks who embrace all with joy, and exude love, acceptance, peace and tranquility.

That said, I also enjoy being around honest people.  And, if I had to choose, I would choose honest negativity over fake positivity any day of the week.

Let’s take anger, for instance.

If someone is angry, they should allow themselves to be angry ~ preferably in a controlled way, rather than brandishing a handgun ~ in order to give the offending party a chance to “clear the air.”

Honest anger is, well, honest.  If you are pissed, go on record as being pissed.

Having someone be honestly angry is preferable to having them lie to me ~ by being nice to my face, while honestly seething behind my back.

Honestly expressed anger paves the way for us to communicate openly to resolve misunderstandings, even if we eventually have to just agree to disagree on the point under discussion.

However, once you have honestly expressed your anger, its work is done.

Let it go!

Example:  Someone cuts you off in traffic.  If you can, choose to view them with humor or compassion, rather than anger.  It’s better for your blood pressure, and overall health, not to get bent out of shape by every minor infraction by fellow travelers on this planet.

If it helps, picture the offending driver as someone who is engaged in a hostage situation where time is of the essence.

Be thankful that you are not racing to drop off ransom money in order to reclaim your prized teddy bear!

Then just, smile and wave, boys, smile and wave!

If you can’t view them with humor or compassion, go ahead and give them the finger, if it makes you feel better, but then let the anger go.

Don’t carry your anger at a bad driver around for the rest of the day, polluting your dealings with others.

And, don’t, don’t, don’t, record their license plate, find out where they live, and scream angry epithets at them every morning as they are leaving for work.  Keep some perspective on the situation.

Likewise, don’t follow the offending car around town for the rest of the week, telling them that they are rude, insensitive and arrogant for cutting you off in traffic while they were clipping their toenails.

Emotions are intended to have motion.  Whether you are sad, angry, or frustrated, feel the emotion, let it out, and then . . . let it go.

Next installment:  how to make yourself happy.  Chocolate martini, anyone?

Quote:  At some point, your heart will tell itself what to do. ~ Achaan Chah

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. Graydon Archer - March 21, 2010

Ah, the old “Don’t they know who I am ” syndrome. I must confess, I have fell into it many, many times. I’ve been angered by drivers so many times, I’ve lost count. But my higher power has a way of showing me the “errors of my ways” by simply turning the tables.
What I mean is, I was the one to cut someone off. My brother had called, and told me that if I were going to see my Dad one more time,
that I’d best get to the airport A.S.A.P. . I was frantic. And I’m afraid I drove that way.
Now I at least try to think, perhaps that persons mom or dad, their wife or husband, or one of their children may be sick or dying.
Anger is unavoidable, sustained anger however, is a matter of choice.

Another great post!

2. nrhatch - March 21, 2010

It really does help to envision the “negligent” driver or “rude” clerk as someone who is having a particularly difficult day . . . seeing them with compassion helps our anger evaporate.

Thanks for a wonderful comment.

3. RichardWScott - March 21, 2010

Another important point, I think:

Those who we consider rude or even seem hostile may just be “un-thinking”.

I like the driving scenario. You’re out driving on the freeway when someone cuts you off. There is no doubt that person is an unthinking jerk, right?

But 10 minutes earlier you were distracted for a moment, and cut someone else off. Are you an unthinking jerk? Not in your mind.

I think we forget that a lot of what we call rudeness is inattention.

In other places I’ve written about what it takes to be evil. So far as I can tell, it takes more work than most people are up to. While being an unthinking person can have a lot of the same result as evil intent, most of it is just that. Someone not paying attention.

4. nrhatch - March 21, 2010

I agree. When we are not “present” in the moment, we are not fully focused on the here and now ~ we’re on “auto pilot” (with no one in the pilot’s seat).

That inattention to detail causes us to have accidents and make mistakes. In contrast, when we focus our full concentration on the task at hand, we stop being “unthinking jerks.”

Thanks for your attention to this post. : )

5. aardvarkian - March 21, 2010

I’ll take the chocolate, but hold on to the martini please, if you don’t mind 🙂

6. nrhatch - March 21, 2010

Fair enough. I like my chocolate “straight up” too ~ hold the vodka.

7. Joanne - March 21, 2010

I have done all of the above… I was HONESTLY angry at a teen-aged driver who cut me off while I was driving with my then 3-year-old daughter in her carseat… He was rushing to turn left into a cinema parking lot… I followed him in and parked right next to him, rolled down my window and called out, “Excuse me…!”

He turned toward me and I continued, “Are you running late for your funeral…?” He winced and knit his eyebrows to process the question, wondering if he heard me right… “Huh…?”

I repeated myself and then said, “Look… I’ve got my little girl with me and you almost rammed my car when you cut me off back there at the light…”

He explained that he worked at the cinema and was running late for work… but then he sincerely apologized… I accepted it with a forgiving reminder to be more careful on the road…

Of course, whenever I’m the idiot who mindlessly cuts someone else off, I cover my mouth and hold up my hand in an apologetic gesture to show the pissed-off driver that I realized my mistake, hoping they will let me off the hook without flipping the bird in front of my now 13-year-old daughter…!

8. nrhatch - March 22, 2010

I used to get angry in traffic ~ and carry the residual anger around with me for hours. Now, not so much.

These days, I listen to tunes and sing and feel fairly relaxed behind the wheel. When I see drivers zooming in and out of traffic, Iate for their own funeral (to quote you), I send them a silent reminder:

“Slow down, you move too fast. You gotta make this moment last . . . ”

Maybe someday they’ll actually receive my silently-sent message. : )

9. Mitzi Swift - March 30, 2010

I love the comments you received from this, Nancy. As I was reading, my mind was focusing on the “other driver” and what type of situation they me in that day. We are all allowed to feel “valid” anger, but why waste it on someone you don’t even know. ha! My journey has taught me that even something as small as ‘road rage’ can be a perfect learning tool for me.

I honestly was kicked out of an anger management on my very last day prior to ‘graduation’ because I lost my temper and reacted to a situation immediately, with no processing whatsoever. lol Who does that! lol

That was 12 years ago. In that time, I have learned many new skills and have gained lots of tools for flowing with my anger instead of allowing it to ruin my day, or even my “moment”.

Great writing!!

10. nrhatch - March 30, 2010

Mitzi that is so funny ~ getting kicked out of an anger management class for losing your temper. : )

I sometimes get angry. I rarely carry the anger around with me for more than the minute or two it takes me to process it.


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