Thought for the Day: Does Anger Rule You?

Anger"A 2000 Gallup poll conducted in the United States found that 25% of working adults surveyed felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, 14 % had considered hitting a co-worker, and 10% worry about colleagues becoming violent.  A quick look at the news will prove that workplace anger is a serious issue. Recent in a local Home Depot an ex-employee murdered his manager and other employees.

Anger is no joke.

The truth is life is challenging. People will give you crap and people will actively try to keep you down. That’s a function of human nature. There will always be someone jealous of you–maybe because you are always timely and they can’t seem to tell time or maybe because you know all the ins and outs of the new office computer system and they are still hunting and pecking on the keyboard. There will always be someone willing to step on you to reach the ladder rung above you–and honestly, sometimes it’s not personal. And there will always be someone who doesn’t like you, simply because they don’t like you. We all know this. But that doesn’t make these realities any more pleasant. So… Anger happens.

But today’s thought was delivered to me on Sunday morning when I sat captivated by the visiting minister’s sermon (and this isn’t a particularly spiritual message). The only person ever scorched by your anger is you. The jealousy doesn’t go away. The ladder climbers don’t stop climbing. The naysayers don’t stop wagging their tongues. Nothing happens but your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases, your mind becomes befuddled–and in the case of the ex-Home Depot employee, he goes to jail.

Anger is said to fuel people. But what exactly is that anger fueling? The persistence of pain and the continuity of our own entrapment.

I had a moment this morning. A comment on social media set my blood to boiling. It was a small thing really, but it was enormous because of the feelings it brought bubbling to the surface. Why does this person dislike me so much? Why is this person always trying to needle me? Why? Why? Why?

And then I remembered these words. Anger is born out of two things: Tears and Fears.

For me an old adolescent fear of not being accepted and being misunderstood had crept up and bitten me on the butt. And the scabbed over pain of long ago rejection was scratched raw. The anger I felt this morning was a knee jerk reaction to events that had happened so many years ago, I can’t even count. But it stung something fierce.

How often does anger happen like that for you?

People can rub us the wrong way and not even know it. Half the time we don’t even know exactly why that person made us so very angry. But maybe we do. And maybe a moment of reflection, just a single hesitation before we let that awesome retort fly, would help us realize that we aren’t really angry at all. Just hurt and afraid. Scarred by past pains and fearful of an unknowable future.

Success comes in many different ways. High on my list for success is happiness. Anger is the enemy of happiness. And I’m tired of letting that little minx get in the way of my success. What about you?

No one likes an angry person. Step back from anger and step towards opportunity.

Kate E. Stephenson is a freelance communications specialist whose business encompasses content writing, comprehensive editing and quality resume services.

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