I received a call from camp today. I was told some interview booklets that were supposed to have been submitted yesterday had not been submitted. I therefore have to return to camp either during the weekend, or Monday, on which I am on leave, to return them.
When I received the call and fully understood the news I flared up, and was on the verge of spewing the most obscene vulgarities I could muster. Thankfully, only one obscenity escaped my lips, and in a muted manner.
My tone though, was livid, and it showed throughout the conversation. Again, I must stress, that inside I was burning up. Much like a plugged volcano just itching to erupt, I was close to exploding. If I did explode it would have been a spectacularly nasty scene.
It was strange though, that being angry — using angry tones, spewing vulgarities, perhaps even throwing things if time and space permitted — seemed so right.
One method of tackling anger is that of rationalisation. Step outside of yourself, and think logically about why you are angry, and what benefits (if any) anger would bring about. But, it seems, I had more reasons to be angry than otherwise.
A display of anger allows me to:
- Show displeasure: This dude calls me up, and tells me bad news. I want to tell him that I am upset at the news.
- Minimise chances of event happening again: By showing displeasure, and by passing on the unpleasantness of the situation, I hope to make him associate calling me with regards this particular piece of news an unpleasant experience. We humans, as do most creatures, tend to try to minimise unpleasant experiences, thus he will not call me again unless absolutely necessary.
- Release inner tension: An outward display of anger means that less anger is directed inward, which can lead to stress or depression. Of course, too much outward expression of anger can have far reaching consequences, if the displays of anger are too extreme, so prudence must be taken.
It was due to the above-mentioned reasons that made being angry feel so right. But at the same time, I was thinking,
“It isn’t his fault that he’s calling me. I am in part, to blame too, as I had not confirmed the need to submit the booklets yesterday. He too is distressed over this incident (otherwise, why would he call?), so I really mustn’t be too hard on him.”
I managed to control myself somewhat and calmed down a bit. But I feared that, though this time I was able to control myself, what about next time?
Anger, like nuclear energy, can be used in a very constructive manner, as I have mentioned above.
But, like nuclear energy, if it gets out of hand, almost nothing can surpass it in its potential destructiveness.
The anger I felt was difficult to control, and could have gone either way: it could well have ended with me throwing my handphone on the floor.
I thought about alternative ways to handle the situation: what else could I have done besides being angry? Could I have done it any other way, while achieving the same goals I had listed above (on the expression of anger) achieves?
I deliberated over it, and came to no conclusion. What else is a man to do when faced with such a scenario? I have limited options, and thus I am angry.