There are those who discover they can leave behind destructive reactions and become patient as the earth, unmoved by fires of anger or fear, unshaken as a pillar, unperturbed as a clear and quiet pool.
— Gautama Buddha
All anger is rooted in fear. There are only five root sources of this fear:
• The fear that I let you down or I am letting you down, which fosters feelings of guilt that must be denied.
• The fear that you let me down or you are letting me down, creating feelings of abandonment or disappointment, which lead to feelings of unworthiness and woundedness.
• The fear of humiliation through inappropriate actions, which prompts one person to deny the action or shift the focus and blame to another person.
• The fear that results from utter frustration, which creates a feeling of helplessness and a lack of control. Anger replaces a call for help.
• The final source of anger is rooted in ignorance that leads to fear. Whatever one does not understand makes one’s ego feel insecure and frightened; therefore, one must fear.
We witness the display of anger in four forms:
• The yeller and screamer (like Lauren and Ray) who gets in your face and totally loses their composure.
• The person who makes snide remarks in a passive-aggressive manner and makes their feelings known but avoids addressing the situation directly, leaving that up to you.
• The needler who disapprovingly picks, picks, picks relentlessly. This person never addresses you personally, which causes feelings of resentment because it leaves you clueless about the base problem.
• The run-away who can’t face you at all. This person avoids you or shuns you; the run-away will never address you and will leave you unaware about why, or even if, they are upset.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
— Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)
Many people will employ more than one of these techniques, depending on the situation, the level of animosity, and the particular individual with whom they are upset or feel hurt by. Yes, anger can hurt the recipient. More importantly, there is an even greater amount of harm and self-inflicted pain for the person who carries or emits anger toward others. It is toxic to their soul.
Whether the feeling of anger is rising up in you or is being directed at you, you can now control it. Realizing the source of anger gives you the ability to have strength through understanding, compassion, and patience in the face of anger. Recognize that there are only two true emotions: love and fear. Yes, fear, not hate—hate, like anger, is a byproduct of fear.
You can now identify the various expressions of anger. This gives you the ability to recognize it in all of its true forms. You are now provided with the tools to avoid the trappings and pitfalls of anger. You no longer need to lower yourself to its level. Instead, you can rise above it because you possess the power to respond with purpose and truth.
People may ask, “Why should I have to be the bigger person? Why should I have to rise above it?” The answer is simple: because you are not doing this for the other person; you are doing this wholly for yourself. You are doing it to improve your life, increase your enjoyment, and ensure that happiness and harmony are yours. If it has a similar effect on the other individual, wonderful—call it a bonus. This is an act that genuinely comprises the five tenants—love, kindness, patience, truth, and compassion. Make no mistake about it—the shedding of anger in your life is one of the most wondrous gifts you can give yourself.
A Shortened Excerpt from:
The Journey of Truth:
Chronicles of a Peaceful Warrior
by Tony R. Zonca