I heard this phrase the other day from a person I had just met. We were engaged in a discussion with a small group of people and for some reason, the phrase captured my full attention. I am not a person who has carried a lot of anger, but I have witnessed my share of it. It comes in many forms, has many causes, and can be a good thing if correctly handled.
Anger is an emotion that can be used for good or bad, selfishly or unselfishly, harshly or righteously. Once you tap your anger, you are living in a slippery place.
Anger is usually seen as an expression of displeasure. From the outbursts of shouting to passive aggressive behavior with a bent on revenge, we have all been on the receiving side of someone’s anger. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I always seek to identify any blocked goals that are leading to anger. Often times, the person who is angry is not even aware goal is being blocked, but told to take some deep breaths and remove themselves from a situation in order to gain composure.
Righteous anger assumes a moral high ground. I personally believe aggravated assault violates a moral code. First, it violates our laws is punishable by imprisonment. Second, it violates a natural law that is deep within our souls that tells us this type of behavior is wrong. When we witness an immoral act, we cry for justice and hope an authority will step in and right the wrong, or at least punish the offender. In these cases, our feelings, and subsequent expressions of anger, are probably justified.
It may be difficult to determine the difference between righteous anger and unrighteous anger. It is possible to start out with good intentions, but allow anger to go too far; hence it is a slippery place to live. Anger can also be used as an intimidation factor. Most children have seen anger used in this fashion by their parents. Children also use anger. As a young teenager, I remember a time when I was not getting my way on a topic. I made a spur of the moment decision to pretend I was angry so I started yelling and slamming cupboard doors in our kitchen. That strategy did not turn out well.
I notice some people are afraid to express anger of any kind. They stand with a red face or turn around and storm out. Anger can be healthy as long as it is properly expressed with self-control and respect for person and property. These days, most anger appears unhealthy and demonstrates a lack of self-control and is destructive in nature.
Here are some additional thoughts when dealing with your anger
- Be aware as to whether or not you are angry person. Ask someone who knows you and won’t lie to you out of fear of retribution.
- Go ahead a laugh at the first silly suggestion. Even angry people can laugh.
OK, this blog isn’t so much about dealing with anger, but understanding that it is a slippery place to live. Anger is a natural emotion. When I first heard the statement, “Anger is a slippery place to live,” I was immediately captured by the comment because I felt justified. Anger is not just a negative personal trait. Righteous anger, to right a wrong, can be appropriate, but it must be expressed in a healthy and respectful manner. We need to be aware that once we experience anger flaring up in our bellies, we need to be on guard about what we do with it.
How do you keep your anger in check?