Sunday, June 24, 2018

Mindful Speech: How Do You Handle Anger?

updated May 25, 2021

The Transformative Power of Anger

“Virtually every step our species has taken toward a better society happened because someone used a tankful of anger to move the world. Of course, like any potent fuel, anger is volatile. Most people either suppress it or vent it inappropriately. The former approach is like hiding enriched uranium under your mattress (you won’t see it, but it may slowly kill you), while the latter is like slopping gasoline all over your car instead of putting it in the tank.”

Martha Beck, “All the Rage,” p. 35-36, Oprah Magazine, March 2015

Have you ever been really angry at someone and then felt embarrassed when you realized you'd misread the situation? Or been in the opposite position, where someone scolded you for something you didn't do?

  • Or the time a colleague chewed me out because “I know what you were really thinking.” (He actually wasn't a very good mind reader.)

At other times, our feeling of anger may be justified, but an overly strong reaction can do a lot of damage. Rather than lashing out, sulking or giving in, we need to calmly choose an appropriate response.

I’m not saying that’s easy. I’m just saying it’s the most effective way to actually change the situation...

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