If there is one common thread that runs through most of the world’s problems, it’s anger.
Violence, abuse, and hatred all grow when fueled by anger’s empty fumes.
We've all seen how anger damages relationships and destroys love and trust. What’s more, medical researchers have recently found that anger can lead to sleeping problems, excess eating, and long-term heart damage.
No, nothing good comes from anger.
But there is good news. With so much in life that seems beyond our control, our own anger does not have to be. We can do something about it! We can start by simply choosing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Instead of assuming they are purposefully attempting to harm us or offend us, we can choose to believe their motives are innocent.
Truly, much of our anger is caused by unintentional offenses: the scowl, the thoughtless comment, even the seemingly deliberate snub may not have been intended.
It’s true that sometimes people do mean to offend or take advantage of us. But wise and contented people don’t let such irritation boil over into their commute, their relationships, their plans and expectations. They understand that a certain amount of unfairness and unkindness are part of life. But they don’t give inconsiderate people power over their happiness and contentment.
Yes, life can be exasperating, but if we let anger get the best of us, then we really have lost what’s best of us—our self-control and personal freedom.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson wisely said, “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.
” So when anger mounts, instead of getting upset about things we can’t control, we can pause, if only for a moment, breathe deeply, and count to 10—or 100, if necessary.
As we replace anger with peace, hostility with understanding, and hatred with love and compassion, in a small but real way, we are making the world a better place.
-Lloyd D. Newell