How true is it that anger and happiness are impossible together? Does anger always take away our happiness? Do you get angry sometimes? I think we all do at times. Is it always bad for us?
Think of the last time you were really angry. Pause for a moment. Think about it. Picture it again in your mind’s eye. How did you feel? Were you happy, or upset? I think anger and being upset always go together. When we’re upset, we’re not really happy.
If anger is going to take away our happiness, then how do we stop being angry? Think of the sort of things that make you angry. It’s usually other people, saying things we don’t like. They may call us names, insult us, disagree with us, ignore us, or in some way hurt us. Be horrible, and cause us pain. Very often our default response is anger at that person.
If we do get angry at people deliberately hurting us, how could we react in a more positive way? That would be a difficult challenge, but well worth it. So, what to do? How could we keep our peace of mind, and refuse to allow their actions to dictate how we feel?
Maybe that was what Jesus was talking about when He advised “turning the other cheek.” What that means is that we don’t retaliate: not in words, nor in actions. We don’t hit them back, we don’t return insult for insult, we don’t “give as good as we get.” In a word, we refuse to allow their negative behaviour to bring us down to their level.
We kill the “downward spiral of violence” before it even starts.
The amazing thing is that if we refuse to return evil for evil, but instead return good for evil, then two great things happen. First of all, we keep our own peace of mind and happiness. Secondly, very often the other person starts to feel bad about their behaviour, and often comes to a better frame of mind.
Yes, why not return good for evil? Brilliant idea! Why allow a moment’s negativity to destroy our positive relationship for hours, perhaps even days and weeks. That’s plain crazy. Think about it.
We’ve all heard true stories of friends who fell out over some negative behaviour, and became bitter enemies for the rest of their lives. Why would we take on board such insane behaviour? Think of all the beautiful things that could have happened if they had just let go of the anger.
They could have said “O.K. we’ve got angry at each other. Where do we go from here? Nurse the pain for the next few decades? Never speak to each other again. Or just let go, make up, and move on?”
Pride, of course, is the problem. Our injured pride is always into the blame game. “It’s his fault. He did this, that or the other. Why should I make up first?”
The other party, without a doubt, thinks exactly the same. “Well, it’s certainly not MY fault, etc etc etc.”
How silly, stupid and childish it is. And it doesn’t go away. It’s always a thorn in your side, a pain that’s ever in your mind and heart.
Is that really the way you want to live? Maybe it’s even worse. What if it applies to many other people you’ve fallen out with? Where will it end? We know there’s a better way.
Why not just wake up, let go of your precious pride, make up, maybe have a drink, and be happy? The ultimate WIN-WIN!
P.S. What’s your experience of overcoming anger? Please let us know by leaving a comment. It will help others.