At some point, however, many angry people realize they have to change their tactics. They begin to see how negative anger really is. Weighed against its supposed usefulness, getting mad is unrealistic, impractical, and unhealthy. It’s unrealistic because your anger won’t cause others to change, no matter how strongly you feel they must. It’s impractical because one person’s rage is puny compared to the wrongs and injustice of the world. It’s unhealthy because the upset you feel after is a state of stress that’s harmful to every cell in your body.
Are You Angry?Where do you stand on your own anger? Have you turned the corner and seen it for the negative emotion it really is? The NFL's recent decision to take a strong position on domestic violence, after decades of looking the other way, points toward the violence we feel uncomfortable exposing in daily life. Anger is rooted in human nature, no doubt. It runs the gamut from a righteous sense of injustice to petty resentment, fantasies of revenge, bullying, and intimidation—all very common human experiences—before escalating to physical violence, crime, and war. Aggression is something we must all confront either as a victim or an assailant.
How to Turn Down AngerAssuming you’ve reached the point where you want to do something about your own anger or anger directed at you, where do you start? Psychologists would advise that you assess the level of the problem and take suitable measures to deal with the issues that come up. But anger management therapy seems to be of little use. It teaches you to be more self-aware of your anger, but this isn't useful when anger decides to explode. The force is too primal to overcome with rational restraint.
The world's wisdom traditions take a different tack, offering two valuable insights:
- Your anger is all about you. You will never deal with it until you look inward to examine yourself.
- Once you look inward, you will see that anger isn't part of your true self. Be your true self and anger is solved.
The second point says that when you do decide to go inward, you’ll be shocked at how entangled your anger is with your entire personality, daily actions, beliefs, and worldview. Every person contains the anger of centuries. The effect is so pervasive that there is no answer on the level of your ego-personality. It believes in anger and is also helpless to control it.