How Do We Control Our Anger For Simple Issues?
Anger is one of the most common human emotions. Mostly all of us have experienced anger in one way or another, and while different people have different ways of expressing anger, the emotion remains the same. It is also a common experience that anger is very harmful, both for the person towards whom it is directed and also for the person experiencing it. So, is there some way to free ourselves from this anger, especially how do we control our anger over simple issues?
To answer the above question, let us take a simple example.
Close your eyes and imagine, a family member of yours accidentally drops a large jug of milk right now. What do you do?
I immediately react by getting angry on him!
Ok. Now, we’ll stop for a moment and analyze, ‘why did I react so? What’s going on within, that propelled this anger.’
I am not liking the loss that occurred – the jug got broke and the milk got wasted. Also, I am worried about the effort that I will have to now put in, to clean up the mess that the spilled milk has created. Furthermore, I am concerned because some important guests are expected to arrive here, anytime now. What will the guests think if this mess doesn’t get cleaned up before they arrive? And there are other things to finish too. How will I complete all the tasks on time? Moreover, now there is no milk left. How will I serve tea to the guests? Thus, all in all, my family member has created a major inconvenience for me, by dropping the jug of milk, due to which I burst into anger, and scolded him.
Now, in response, let’s ask some rational questions to ourselves and get some answers from within:
1. Did the family member drop the jug deliberately?
No, not deliberately. But he did drop it!
2. It could be dropped by anybody. It could be dropped by you even?
3. What would your reaction be then?
My reaction would be, “Oh! How did this jug fall from my hand? I’m in big trouble now. Let me think what I can do next, in the given circumstance.”
4. Would you not blame yourself and get angry on you?
No, because I know I didn’t want to drop it; it just happened!
5. The same holds true for your family member too? He too didn’t want to drop it; it just happened?!
I understand now. I agree, it was not his fault. I shouldn’t have got angry on him. But my anger is still justified, right?… because of the inconvenience it caused.
6. But you didn’t mention anger when you just said, “I’m in big trouble now. Let me think what I can do next, in the given circumstance”?
Yes, what’s the point in getting angry? It would be just a waste of time. What’s happened can’t be undone now. Given the circumstance, to think about some best solution only would be a wiser thing to do.
7. Nice! But will you be able to find some solution to the long list of inconvenience that has got created?
Oh yes, I certainly will. In my life, so many times, I have been put into such tight circumstances, but I’ve managed fine. This is nothing against it!
8. So what do you think now, was your anger justified from any angle?
No! I am firmly convinced now that my anger was wrong.
There you go! When there is an insistence on our own part to have things our way, as planned; then even a small unforeseen change in the idea we have formed in our mind of how things would or should go, makes us feel angry. And anger always seeks the target of blame somewhere outside us. However, a detailed introspective analysis will show us the correct picture that there really is no culprit outside; it is only our own bad habits and inner weaknesses that make a hue and cry of every perceived inconvenience in life.
To control any kind of anger, Gnani, the Enlightened One, has suggested four simple steps:
1. Have a firm conviction that your anger is not right. Anger is a weakness. Sooner we realize this, the better it is for us and for those around us!
2. List out the advantages of not getting angry, and also a corresponding list of the disadvantages of getting angry. This will help us realize how harmful it is to get angry and will provide us the impetus to get over our anger at the earliest.
3. Inspite of the above exercise, it may happen that you still end up getting angry. This is because earlier, we have strongly opined in favour of anger. For this, what we can do now is pratikraman, which means confession, repentance and a vow to not do it again. So, you may pray to God with all your heart, “Oh God, I got angry on so and so person. Please forgive me, and grant me strength so that I do not repeat this mistake.” That’s it.
4. Never protect your anger. This is a very important step to come out of the anger forever. Many a times, while we are striving hard to overcome our weakness of anger, when someone comes and says, “You shouldn’t have got angry on that person”, we immediately protect our anger by justifying ourselves, how in the given scenario, it was indeed necessary to get angry. So, beware of this vital point. Let’s own up our faults and see; things will become easy, both for us and for others too.
The above four steps will prove helpful to get over the vice of anger. In fact, one can use these steps to overpower any bad habit or fault that we may see in ourselves. Also, if possible, let’s cultivate a habit of praying to God, “May no living being be caused any hurt by my thoughts, words or actions”, asking Him for strength to that effect, every morning, . This one good habit, in course of time, will help eliminate a lot of bad habits lying within.
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