July 6. “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it?” (Marcus Aurelius)
I have been known to have a temper. The eruption of that temper has always caused more issues than that light the fuse. I can personally attest that what was true in Marcus Aurelius’ time, nearly 1,900 years ago, is still true today.
Every day there are tragic stories in the news about people who have let their anger get the best of them. Crimes of passion, road rage, people yelling at their children or worse at the store, and on and on. All stemming from uncontrolled anger and rage.
When my mind is calm, and my anger is not up it is easy for me to rationalize the right way to react. I can tell myself and other to take a deep breath, count to ten, take a step back, or any of a number of other things to engage the camp before the storm.
But in those heated moments, when my feelings have been hurt, or frustration has gathered like heavy seas swept by a constant wind, that advice can be very difficult to take and put into use.
Many have been the times that I have spent far more effort repairing a damaged relationship from my angry outburst than was ever warranted by the slight that sparked my eruption.
As I am sitting here on a cloudy Sunday morning, surrounded by family and close friends, I am pondering how often I have managed to hurt people with my acidic tongue, my sarcastic attitude, my angry yelling, and so on. I have may pledges to myself here before. Some I have followed well, others have gone by the wayside. Today, as all days, I continue to pledge to myself to do my best to always take my own advice and avoid letting small things erupt into larger things because of my own passions.