Your Best Defense Against Anger

Check out Webster’s dictionary. Anger is defined as “a feeling of discomfort or displeasure brought about by feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.” My personal definition of a victim is one who views themselves as having no power or authority. Many times, a victim will claim that in a certain situation where they made a less than ideal decision, they did so because they had no choice. “I had to pay my mechanic for fixing my car even though I know he overcharged me. I had no choice!” This leaves the individual feeling cheated, taken advantage of, and treated unfairly. The natural reaction is anger since is produces a momentary feeling of power.

There are also many who believe they cannot choose how they feel, that it is others who have dominion over their emotional state of mind. Such comments as “You make me angry”, “You hurt my feelings” or “You embarrassed me” indicate that others determine how one will feel based on what they are doing or saying. Outside circumstances (“Rainy days make me feel depressed”) assign that power to external environment. In each scenario, one runs the risk of reacting to the situation rather than carefully choosing how to respond. Reactionary behaviors are rarely productive since they lack intellectual consideration and self-control. One can easily cause any situation to escalate based on poor reactionary choices.
So what is the best defense against anger? It is a two-fold process. The first is intellect. We have each been given a reasonable amount of intelligence. We are able to collect data, process it, sort it out, and reach a conclusion. In any given circumstance, a rational mind can logically collect all relevant information and determine right from wrong, good from bad, logical from illogical, and so forth. Once complete, a decision can be made based on the desired outcome and the most logical process to achieve it.

The second is the power of choice. Each of us has been given the ability to determine for ourselves what we will say or do, how will we proceed to do so, what actions we will take or refrain from, and when we will end the process. Free will, even in the event that I have no control over my current circumstances, enables me to exercise my authority over my own feelings, thoughts, and actions. No one can dictate how I think about an individual, situation, or event. No one can determine how I feel about said person or what is occurring. Nor can anyone dictate how I respond. Hard as they may try, inevitably I alone determine each of these for myself. Additionally, I choose how I will allow this event to affect me.
Choice extends beyond the obvious as well. One can choose to be angry with a particular person or situation or not. Every emotion results from our thoughts. I can choose to be judgmental and angry with someone for not conforming to my ways or I can decide to be understanding and accepting. I can get angry when I am treated unfairly or be grateful that I am a forgiving person.

The best defense against anger is found in our intellect and ability to choose. Therefore, be smart, think things through thoroughly, and choose wisely. Less anger allows for more happiness. It’s a no brainer.

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