A Vow To Never Get Angry Again
Anger Management, According To The Movies
Image by L.E. Wilson from RedBubble based on work by NickyPe on Pixabay
Anger in movies is fun to watch.
And in many cases, an angry character is also funny, particularly when that character completely loses it, as Steve Martin’s businessman character, Neal, does in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) when he hollers, curses, and throws his things in a parking lot. YOU’RE MESSING WITH THE WRONG GUY!
Loretta (Cher): That’s the bad blood between you and Johnny? …But that’s not Johnny’s fault.
Ronny: I don’t care! I ain’t no freaking monument to justice! I LOST MY HAND. I LOST MY BRIDE. JOHNNY HAS HIS HAND. JOHNNY HAS HIS BRIDE. YOU WANT ME TO TAKE MY HEARTBREAK, PUT IT AWAY, AND FORGET?!
Loretta: […] What’s the matter with you? I mean, you think you’re the only one who ever shed a tear?
Frank: But that’s me! I’m a widow of business. It’s my life! I’ve chosen it! […] When I want a wife, I’m going to buy one. And she’s going to be devoted to me, to my wants and my needs. NOT LIKE YOU! Let’s face it, you treated me like dirt!
I love all of these movies because they are funny and brilliant, but also because they portray anger, which in polite society we are not allowed to display. Hence, movies allow us to have a kind of release by allowing us to vicariously experience behavior that we know we should not engage in because of the harm it could cause.
But there is something more important that these movies do, which is to show the path, the exact path, these enraged characters take that allows them to eventually let go of their anger completely. In the end, what these movies really demonstrate is that anger is a choice.
If you think about it, isn’t anger the most pointless of the emotions? It’s beastly, isn’t it? When people act in anger, they really are betraying the animal within, all “red in tooth and claw,” as poet Alfred Lord Tennyson put it.
Of course there is no denying that we are part of the animal kingdom, a primate, and even share about 50% of our genes with a banana! So we can’t be too hard on ourselves. After all, we’re related to every fierce predator, sneaky creature, and lower life form that has ever existed on planet Earth. So what do you want from us? What did you expect?
And yet, we are capable of so much more!
We have brains that, for the most part, we can control. We’re not just mindlessly going about our day being led astray by impulses that control us. We can learn ethics and have morals to guide our behavior so that we can always remember to never intentionally cause harm or discomfort to others.
We can have a say and make choices about what we experience and how we react. We can use our logic and reason to mitigate the effects of strong emotions in order to have better outcomes for ourselves and those around us.
It’s absolutely not easy, but what if here and now we all vow to never get angry again?
Anger is a fleeting emotion that passes. With time, like everything bad, anger evaporates. The cause of the anger, that is, what caused you to get angry or the reason for having an angry reaction, will also be forgotten over time as well.
But what you do in anger, the actions you take in anger—that could haunt you for the rest of your life and, more importantly, cause more harm and more anger to propagate in the world.
Wouldn’t it be better then, to not let yourself feel anger ever again?
Instead of anger, how about shaping your thoughts so that you feel sadness for others instead? Or better yet, isn’t compassion—a feeling of sympathy and a desire to alleviate suffering—what is really being called for in those anger-inducing situations?
The rude, aggressive, demanding person who is wasting your time?
The entitled, dishonest, arrogant person who is undermining you?
The ignorant, misguided, bitter person who is trying to lead you astray?
Have pity on them all, for they have some need you cannot see that is causing them so much pain that all they can do is lash out.
Once you pinpoint who these people are then, as much as you can, stay away from them and anything that makes you angry. But if you can recognize that something small is making you angry, then try to change your thinking so that you see it as small, and react appropriately. Which is to say,
Don’t sweat the small stuff …and it’s all small stuff.
Most things are not worth getting upset over, and they’re certainly not worth your precious time.
Time is really the issue here. We don’t have long lives, and tragically many of the people we love have even shorter lives than we because they are older, or more frail, or more unlucky.
So what good is anger in the grand scheme of things?
Oh, it’s not easy to let it go! Anger is one of our basic emotions. It rises up as a reaction to an event and it may be an instantaneous kind of reflex that we may not be able to fully control. But isn’t anger at its core really just a reaction to stress?
The secret to never getting angry again, then, may be to eliminate your stress.
Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.
Be valiant. Be brave. Let go of fears, especially daily ones that obviously don’t come true. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, ask for help. Stay away from doomsayers. Surround yourself with peace and tranquility. And never assume or expect—which is even worse—that your plans will work out.
Just do the best you can, taking care of the living beings around you as the number one priority above all—and everything will be ok.
Nothing really matters, but the ones we love.
If we put more energy into taking care of those around us, instead of letting the news cycle induce us to anger—news that is mostly about strangers and events that we can’t control and that largely don’t affect us—then everything will be better for a lot more people.
We only have a limited number of heart beats left in this world, this good Earth. Don’t let stress, and the anger that it causes, steal another moment of your time.
Let it go, whatever is causing the anger. Things don’t always work out how you wanted them to, or how you planned them, but that’s not necessarily bad. Things have a way of working out anyway.
Above all, don’t ever take out your anger on the innocent who had nothing to do with what caused your anger—that’s the height of injustice.
Only our loved ones matter. Make the best of your time with them, and let compassion, for yourself and others, be how you react to stress from this moment on, until the end of time.