We all get angry at some point in time. Some of us get angrier than others, but it is a very common human manifestation. Anger is an expression of strong feelings of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility, Anger can show up when we feel violated, provoked, or invalidated. We can get upset when there are breakdowns in communications, or when our intentions are thwarted, or when there are unfulfilled expectations.
In simple terms, what this means is that we are not happy with our lack of control over the world. We are not the center of the universe and we are incapable of getting exactly what we want, when we want it. When something doesn’t go our way, we don’t like it and we then may have a temper tantrum to prove it.
There are so many reasons that we become angry. You may be concerned that your life is not going in the direction you want, or may feel a repressed anger at the stubbornness of the people in your life. Anger can signal a sense of hopelessness in our ability to solve a problem with a solution that we are attached to.
Anger, at its best, is a gauge of our emotional maturity. How we handle problems and our resultant emotional upsets is very revealing to who we are at that moment. It can also be the pathway for the evaluation of our internal strengths and weaknesses.
It is such a common part of our emotional expressions that we may come to believe that it is normal to be overwhelmed by it.
When we place all the focus on the external event that caused the frustration, we miss the opportunity to look inward to see its real source.
Anger is a fear-based emotion that is closely linked to our primitive brain. It can start with irritation that can quickly move into annoyance and even rage depending upon our level of emotional control. A person experiencing anger will also experience physical conditions, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Our fight-or-flight response is activated because we are interpreting the cause of our anger to be a threat to our wellbeing. That also causes us to release cortisone, and the stress hormone is toxic for all of our tissues, especially our brain. Repressed anger can be a source for all sorts of bodily ailments and mental consequences.
So, what is the solution to our anger problem? How can we overcome this common affliction that plagues us all at some time or another? Thankfully, there is a solution and the answer to our anger is patience. Most of us have probably heard that patience is a virtue. There is much more to this common saying than one would think.
With a little help from some ancient wisdom we can get a better understanding of the relationship between patience and anger. Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (AD 348-413) was a Christian bishop, theologian, poet, and hymn writer. In the Psychomachia, (Battle for the Soul) he described the seven deadly sins and their opposites, the seven contrary virtues.
The sins are illustrative of the works of the ego self and the virtues are pathways to the higher self. He said that the virtues are specific cures or remedies for the vices. Anger was one of the sins and patience was the virtue to overcome it. I believe that his recommendation is as true today as it was long ago.
Patience is a correction to our anger and it is the only way to help others deal with their anger issues. So often we can get overwhelmed by other’s anger and get drawn into the situation and even escalate it. We can resolve conflicts peacefully and forgive others with patience. It allows us to create a sense of peace, stability, and fellowship.
The amount of patience a person has is inborn to a large degree. Different temperaments such as the driving and expressive types generally have a faster stress response, which means less patience. But patience can be learned and our instinctual natures can be brought under control. There first has to be a willful, committed intention that allows one to step back and objectively monitor one’s behavior.
When one is committed to getting their ego in check, controlling anger and choosing patience can be a very important intention to make. Knowing that anger is one of the key markers of the ego, it is necessary that we begin to practice patience in all aspects of our lives. This intention will be the first step of a key aspect of personal development.