When Anger is Constructive

As a perceptive stripling, I never grasped why spilled milk, juice or other liquids would nearly always result in timeout or some other form of punishment. After galling years of enduring this injustice, I angrily (with a coolheaded tone) spoke out against said wrong. More than stating an irrefutable assertion — namely, that it is incorrect to punish a child for mistakes — I gleaned something else from the confrontation with my parents: that there exists a brand of anger that is constructive or profitable to oneself and others.

Certainly, irrational souls abuse this right to helpful rage, but with some direction, anyone can harness this emotion properly. Below are my impromptu tips on constructive anger.

First, if you’re anger is immediately tailgated by bitterness, you’re likely misusing your right to rage. Direct your anger at the injustice, wrong or crime committed against you, not towards the offender. Storing up bitterness always leads to absolute frustration, for you won’t be satisfied until they pay. Recognize that you are hurting, what hurt you and forgive the hurter.

Second, good anger will lead to generally good results. For example, if you’re angry because of an unresolved issue with a friend, good anger would cause you to go speak with them. Bad anger will avoid resolution at all costs, often choosing poisonous grudges instead.

Finally (although there could be more), ill-conceived anger festers, like mold on decrepit bread. You’ll know whether your anger is negative if it gnaws away at your daily mental meditations. As the Good Book says, repent! Think differently about the situation and employ positive anger; you’l feel better because of it.

We’re all learning, and I would hate the day when I yell at my children for mistakes, but it might happen. As long as I willingly clash my own selfish desire for ignorance, I know I can “be angry and sin not.”

 

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