Getting Angry at the Right Person To the Right Degree at the Right Time
Dr. John Schinnerer
Three hundred years before the birth of Christ, Aristotle said, “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” It fascinates me that, 2300 years later, we still wrestle with this difficulty. One of the ways which we do that is by displacing our anger onto the wrong person.
A few weeks ago, I was in Paris with my girlfriend, Joree. In the rain, we headed to Sunset Jazz Club. Lucky Peterson, a great bluesman was playing there that night. We got a couple drinks and made our way to our seats. It was a small venue, perhaps 70 seats, perfect for the blues.
The set began. Lucky was amazing. His wife came up and sang a few songs. The crowd was loving it. He even broke into a little Purple Rain by Prince. However, throughout the set, a pair of men (who I’m guessing were from Eastern Europe based on their accent) were having a loud conversation. My attention kept vacilating between the music and their voices. It was annoying. It was rude.
As they were seven rows behind us, I didn’t feel comfortable calling them on it. Lucky finished his set. The applause died down. We made our way outside.
And I was still annoyed at these two men.
Joree offered to take a photo of me in front of the Sunset. I said yes. While she was lining up the shot, a trio of men passed right in front of me. One of the men stepped on my foot. He apologized. As my annoyance was still lingering, I responded, “No problem. I have another foot.” Normally, when I say something similar, I smile and let the other person know it’s fine. On this night, I was straight faced. And the young man could tell I was frustrated.
Joree took my photo. And, in the second it took to take the picture, I realized that I was displacing my anger. This young man had done nothing to deserve my (admittedly minor) annoyance. And my impression was that he felt badly about it.
I looked around. He was nearby with his two friends. He wore a Raiders jersey with “Cooper” on the back. I knew I needed to repair the slight rift with this stranger. So I walked over to him with a smile and complimented him on the Raiders jersey. I told him I thought Amari Cooper was amazing. He was very appreciative for my recovery in mood. He felt better. I felt better. And we parted ways feeling positive.
Pay attention to your own low intensity anger, frustration, and irritation. Pay attention to when and how you share it with others. Ask yourself,
- Is the right person receiving my frustration?
- Is this the right time to share my irritation?
- Am I upset to the right degree or am I too upset?
- What is my purpose for sharing my anger?
By asking yourself these questions, you will have a better chance of mastering your anger, your annoyance and your frustation. Everyone around you will be grateful.
If you would like to find out more about how to be aware of your anger and the latest tools to manage anger, I invite you to visit my store at WebAngerManagement.com which offers a variety of online video anger management classes from which you may learn in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Remember, as Buddha said over 2400 years ago, “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”