What is worth getting angry about in this world? Many would argue nothing. But how often do you find yourself honking your horn angrily at people on the road who just don’t know how to drive? Or find yourself getting angry with a coworker whose mistakes have given you extra work YET AGAIN? Kids who don’t behave. A significant other who just doesn’t get it. There are a gazillion reasons to get angry out there in the world.
Wrath is something that should never be taken lightly. While none of the Seven Deadly Sins should be considered to be worse than another, wrath is one of the more overtly expressed and obvious ones. Some people make it really easy to get mad at them — the ones we let past our armour: family, close friends, people who we let in our beds — others just happen to catch us on the wrong day, and we lash out at them whether they’re deserving of it or not.
Most people know that I’m not the angriest of individuals, but even I have my limits. However, even in our darkest moments, there are lessons we can learn. Below, I’ve included an example from my life and the lessons that we can all learn from my past behaviour. I could have easily talked about the times where my brothers and I nearly killed each other, the screaming matches that we all have with our parents, or the levels of sheer frustration that exes can often drive us to. But the difference between those and wrath (for me, at least), is that wrath is either an extreme form of anger or a form of retributory punishment
; oftentimes you approach these situations genuinely wishing ill will upon your subject — intending this for someone you love is worthy of a separate blog post on its own.
Instead, I present a time where I felt I was wronged in a situation, and dealt with it for better or for worse.
Ever been blamed for something you didn’t do? It’s a real pain in the ass. But there’s a big difference between it happening between siblings when you’re five, and when someone passes the buck at work!
Back when I was a banker, I’d been dealing with a client and passed him off to a colleague to take care of a mortgage transaction. So they go in, they come out, and someone’s completely messed it up, locking up their cash. And I know it wasn’t me — but none of the management believed me. So what did they make me do? Get on the phone for three hours to apologize, call up our central area, and get the entire thing reversed. And then I was just pissed. My anger goes in stages: Stage 1 — Annoyance. Stage 2 — Frustration. Stage 3 — Deadly Silence. Stage 4 — Lose My Cool. This was definitely a Stage 3 situation. Silently sitting in the staff room for the next day and a half pissed off and refusing to say more than a few words to anyone until the person fessed up. I had everyone walking on eggshells and frightened to talk to me since they’d never seen this side of me before.
MORAL: Never take the blame for something you didn’t do. It’s never a smart idea, and if you do it for someone, human nature says it’s likely that they’ll take advantage of your good nature and just do it again. Tell the truth — even though the person may loathe you for it, if they were willing to let you take a bum rap for it, their opinion might not be worth all that much, anyway.
LESSONS LEARNED: Pouting won’t get you anywhere either. Sometimes you need to just take your licks and just keep on moving in life.
So there are those who might say “But isn’t it healthy to express ourselves when we’re upset? Bottling it up inside is always a bad idea.”
While I totally agree with you, there’s a difference between expressing what’s on your mind and using extreme anger to resolve your issues — the emotions involve will often lead us to do foolish things in order to quell the rage. There are better ways to do this rather than throw things, scream at other people, get into fights, etc.
- Have a measured and even-tempered conversation with the person who has wronged you, explaining why you feel the way you do
- Write out the reasons why you feel angry, and what can be done to resolve your feelings — it may help
- Meditate on what’s bothering you until you’ve calmed down and you’re ready to face the world again
Wrath is unnecessary. While anger is a normal, human emotion, you never need to take it to the point where others can get hurt — emotionally, physically or mentally. Because you never know — some day, someone might just have a good reason to do the same to you.
–Casey E. Palmer