“Anyone 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-this is not easy.” Aristotle
Whoever was I angry with to the right degree at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way?? In truth, probably no one!
I was discussing anger with a client today and how so often anger is a reaction to cumulative behavior, it is not a response to the matter at hand. Often it isn’t even a response to the person in front of you but someone else who harmed you years ago. Anger is important, it is a fire. It is a driving and generative power. To be angry is to burn away the dead wood, and to clear the space for something new. It shouldn’t be something we fear but something we are a curious about.
Observing yourself in a situation where you find yourself triggered into anger is a fascinating process. It’s called Observing the Ego, when you step outside yourself and ask yourself the questions Aristotle poses above:
Ø Why was I angry with this person?
Ø Was my anger proportional?
Ø Was this the right moment for me to express my anger?
Ø Was it really addressing this issue?
Ø Was this the right way to express myself?
Even if you can’t ask yourself these questions in-the-moment, catching yourself in REACTION rather than RESPONSE and asking these questions later is an incredibly powerful mental process on the path to removing your blocks, managing our emotions, cultivating self awareness and healthy relationship dynamics.