There’s this sticker I’ve been seeing at my dry cleaner’s shop since years, and it always makes sense. It says: ‘Don’t lose your temper here, nobody wants it’. But I’ve come to realize that anger can also be of so many different kinds. Broadly speaking, however, I categorise anger as either instructive or destructive. It doesn’t help anyone to lose their cool, but anger can still serve a purpose when it helps another person realize that their deed has upset us. Like when a parent gets angry with his/her child, it’s meant to be instructive.
The first two days of the New Year have been far from what I’d want them to be. And it’s sad that something as futile as anger spoilt them. Thankfully, I’m not the guilty one!
Obviously, the anger I’ve witnessed in the last two days does not fit into this category. Had that been the case, I’d let these days pass off as merely ‘passable’. But the furious people around me have said things that anger doesn’t justify. Despite my volatile temper that cools off as easily as it hots up, I’ve never shot my mouth off because I was overwhelmed by blinding rage. And I hate it when other people do that. It’s spoiled the first two days of this brand new year. And I hate that too.
There are certain unwritten, unsaid rules of anger that need to be followed to avoid a moment of anger to leave permanent scars on relationships. At least these are rules I think need to be followed when you lose your temper:
1. For one, you can’t say things that are not true just because you are angry.
2. You can’t indulge in character assassination; you can say mean things only if you mean them. Thinking is difficult when you’re angry, but it’s not impossible. So the ‘think-before-you-speak’ rule still applies. And that holds true specially if you’re getting angry at someone you love.
3. You can’t vent your anger on somebody in front of people who need not witness the situation. I hate it when the house help gets fodder for gossip because one person in the family yelled at another.
4. You can and must apologise after you’ve blown your top, because anger is so not the solution to a problem.
5. You can’t get angry at one person for the faults of another. They entirely fail the purpose, if ever they was any.
6. And you can’t get angry to save face when you’ve mucked up. If you’re guilty of doing something wrong, own up.
7. You cannot get angry when you’re drunk because when you’re drunk you can’t be angry at anything logical and you’ll only exacerbate the problem.
8. Throwing, breaking things – precious things – is totally off limits. If you don’t scare the other person by doing so, you surely will make him/her angry too.
9. Don’t expect people to forget what you said in rage. It doesn’t happen.
10. You can be angry without shouting. So keep the volume low.