Pure madness – is there any value in anger?

We have all been frustrated, agitated, ticked, incensed, furious, upset, enraged, irate or just plain mad.

THERE’S MORE TO IT — Whether it’s because of politics, sports, idiot drivers or personal relationships, we’ve all been frustrated, agitated, ticked, incensed, furious, upset, enraged, irate or just plain mad.

The question: “Is there any value in it?”

An informal Facebook survey asked my friends have you ever seen anyone benefit from anger? No one directly answered the question, but, 75 per cent made a case for anger as an acceptable motive for activism, justice or other passions. The other 25 per cent are passengers on the peace train.

Anger is defined as an intense emotional response; a strong feeling of displeasure, hostility or antagonism towards someone or something, usually combined with an urge to harm.

I’ll not challenge anyone stirred to action for a cause, be it private and personal, or a one of benefit for society at large. I think it’s important to protect and defend ourselves and lift those who cannot do the same for themselves.

Lately a lot of anger filled protests have been making the news, violence is most often a part. Protesters physically attacking anyone holding differing views, and angry citizens are plowing through human roadblocks with their cars. The whole thing is very unsettling.

I’ll admit I’ve been “mad enough to eat a bucket of nails” on more than one occasion, and at times my anger has boiled over into that urge to harm. Sometimes I was justified in my anger, clearly in “the right” by anyone’s evaluation. But if I am to be completely honest, I have likely, on as many occasions, been a justified subject of someone else’s urge to harm.

Let’s return to the original question; have you ever seen anyone benefit from anger? The answer has to be no, but if you’re like 75 per cent of my FB friends, you reserve the privilege to be angry from time to time with a justification of how it might stir you into some noble action. Anger, at its core, manifests hostility, and urge to harm, neither produce anything remotely close to benefit.

Studies show that in the hours following anger outbursts, the chances of a heart attack doubles, and the risk of stroke triples according to statistics on the everydayhealth website.

Not to mention the guilt, shame and humiliation we need to address, or more likely mask or cover up. Or the costly reparations of damaged physical properties, or more costly, damaged relationships.

Okay, I get it, anger is fruitless, useless, and achieves nothing of value. But I still feel so angry about so many things, how am I supposed to deal with that?

And this is where the rubber meets the road. Words like grace, mercy and forgiveness need to become deep and meaningful values to us, practiced until they are habits.

A famous Mother Theresa quote tells us “un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Letting it go seems unreasonable, especially when someone doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but, if they deserved it, it wouldn’t be called forgiveness would it?

So, next time someone is driving too slow when you are already late, or you overhear a rude comment, or your politics or morality is insulted, try to be charitable and kind instead of blowing your stack, there is more benefit to be had, for everyone.


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