We have so many emotions like sadness, happiness, anger, sourness and so on. All the feelings are universal, but like everything in the world, in various countries emotions are expressed differently. Anger is an emotion that can sometimes make or break people. Some people cannot control their anger over small things, and the result can be devastating. How does the anger start? How far reaching the result of anger can be? Is it worth getting very angry in a situation?
I don’t think so. I am not an angry person, but I have a habit of calling a spade a spade. When I interact with some not so smart people regularly, at some stage, I lose my temper. But I am lucky that this anger stays with me for a small duration. But when some brilliant people do not understand something during a discussion, I get upset and utter something which I should avoid. I am hoping to reduce it, but it is a reflex reaction. I think that venting what you want to say is important; unless we vent it out, we will seethe with it.
I have sometimes felt furious in business meetings, but somehow I have managed not to let it damage my business. But these are infrequent occasions. But on a personal level, I tend to handle such situations without getting angry. Once I was driving during monsoon time; it was not raining, but some dirt got splashed on my glass. I operated the wipers. When I stopped at the next signal a guy on a bike came from the left side and started banging my window on the other side. I wound the glass down and asked him the reason. While I used the wiper, some water got sprinkled on him as my water nozzle position had got disturbed. He told me this. Immediately I profusely apologised with folded hands and said to him that before reaching the office I would get the nozzle corrected, and I did get it fixed. By apologising, I avoided the angry exchange of words.
Am I talking of anger management? Or am I talking anger containment? What is the reason we get angry? Getting angry is a natural emotion; if we can contain it then we may not be required to manage it! When we feel that something unfair or unjust has happened, our blood pressure goes up, and we get mad. Add to this the way our brain is wired; if our family was an angry family when we grew up, we are likely to get angry fast. There is the main culprit we have not discussed, the Ego! The words, “When I say something how can xxx say no to me?” Fine, you have said something, but there are different views on the subject. We forget this, and we get angry. People are going to give their opinions.
I was reading about the expression of anger in different countries in the world and was interesting to find that there is a great variety.
Some sportsmen show their anger when they perform poorly or exceedingly well. When doing well, it is more of excitement.
Germans use a term slap in the face or backpfeifengesicht. “It’s like you’re so furious with someone that you look at their face, and it’s as if their face is urging you to punch them. In Marathi, there is an equivalent term, “कानाखाली द्यावी असं वाटल !”
Ancient Greeks differentiated between short-term anger that doesn’t stick around (ὀργή or orge ) with long-lasting anger that’s permanent (μῆνις or menin).
In India, we have different anger for politicians or your boss. Indians keep personal and political anger separate. Indians also describe anger as sizzling anger as if some vegetable is thrown in boiling oil while cooking.
Labelling your anger is one of the ways of controlling anger. Like different teas and wines, the anger is also of a different variety. What this technique does is to ask yourself to define and name the type of your anger during various incidents. When we think about it, analyse it our mind goes away from actual anger. We have to reason and find out why you got angry. During this thinking, you may find that you made an error of judgment by getting angry. Sometimes you may find out that the intensity of anger was way above what was required. This thought process can be described as a tool which regulates your anger. It is equivalent of counting ten or maybe hundred! It is equal to deep breathing which allows us to divert our mind elsewhere.
During work, we come across some problems. Some define the issue as a huge problem. But when this problem is broken down into small units, for each module involved in the process, many time we realise that the scale is not massive. Similarly, if we break the event when we get angry, step by step breaking down may show that we should have got mad for only a part of that event.
You can name your anger and then it is possible that you will be able to avoid incidents of anger. I have talked about getting angry at some people who are not wise enough. They may keep on asking questions and still may end up making mistakes. I call this stupid anger. Such incidents used to happen with a colleague, regularly in office. He was required to go out of the office for work. I decided that I must accept that he is going to ask questions even if instructions are given in writing. I accepted this fact and asked him to give me a call any time he had doubts. He would call me in 80 % cases for taking a final decision about size, colour, price et al. I consoled myself by saying if he had not called in those 80 % cases, what could have happened. If he had erred in all these cases, I would have been much angrier. Now by calling me, he was only following my instructions! Anger events came down drastically.
Sometimes we want results quickly. I used to push my programming guys. In a hurry, they would say that the work was done. Hurry only led to customer issues later, leading to angry discussions. I stopped asking them and started allocating time estimate as per their judgment plus 25% more time. In 90 % of cases, there were no customer complaints hence less angry discussions. You can call this passenger train anger.
Like instant coffee, there is instant anger too! I used to get angry in some situations instantly. Maturity made me think of futility of such instant anger. Recently, I walked off a nasty situation. When I discussed this with a young friend, he said, “backpfeifengesicht or कानाखाली द्यावी असं वाटल !” Yes, maturity is important especially in work atmosphere where a lot of people are reporting to you. At the back of the mind, we are aware that colleagues will not argue hence one tends to get angry a little more frequently. But in such cases, we should think about empathy. Do we get angry with your near and dear ones so quickly? Do you get angry quickly with your pets? If the answer to both questions is “No” ….
When we meet to have a drink together, we raise the glasses and clink them to say cheers! In the angry situations, train your angry mind and cool mind to raise the glass and say a big CHEERS!