ANGER IS AN EVOLUTIONARY TRAIT

From an evolutionary perspective, it is inevitable for one to get angry or to allow wrath to overcome oneself. It is how one reacts to these extreme situations that determines one’s response. To become anger is human; it is the dark side of human nature.

I believe that anger has destroyed many people, but indispline and lack of self-control all have latent ills which have destroyed many more. There is a biblical statement which says “Be angry when you will; but don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath.”

Indeed, there are several types of anger and therefore, I have decided to categorize each type before analysing this issue.

Firstly and which is permissible, there is what is called “divine anger.” This is the generally state of vexation experienced because of the wrong attitude of others which is inimical to religion in general. One example of this is when God became angry over the sin of mankind and destroyed the world by flooding. It must be added however that, God subsequently repented of His deed, and promised never to destroy the world by flooding again. This means that God’s anger is only temporary, as in the end He forgives.

The next type of anger which I want to deal with is “anger precipitated by impulsive vexation.” This is the type of anger which is common among people described as “thin skinned.” Even a casual joke can send such people into a feat of fury and anger with all its dangerous consequences.

Another yet dangerous anger is when a person is easily provoked. There are people who react negatively at the slightest upset. What ultimately emerges is a reaction which causes unpleasantness. A man who is jokingly called a nick-name by a friend and takes offence can react very harshly. In most cases, he proceeds to harm his friend unwittingly by being impulsive and unreasonable. Anger therefore, is the condition which causes one to react abnormally and in most cases violently to an action or a statement.

– Anger or exasperation is an intense emotional response. It is the emotion of vexation that involves a strong negative reaction to a perceived provocation or aggravation.

– It is a mental agitation characterized by antagonism towards someone that you feel has intentionally wronged you. This is a universal problem. It is not limited to one’s age group, culture, race, economic level,
social status or educational background, to mention but a few.

Almost about 80% of the homes the world over, that were once running well have gone asunder today because either the husband or the wife cannot control his/her anger or both of them cannot manage their emotions.

“Of all the things in the human mind, anger can be one of the most intense, destructive, and
unhealthy emotions. If not handled in the proper way, it can have negative life-changing consequences”.¹

What Causes Anger?

Oftentimes, it’s the beliefs and self-judgements that causes anger. Some of these beliefs and self-judgements are:
• Provocation.
• Loss of control.
• Imputation of fault.
• Rage.
• Pressure of work/family.
• The grief of favoritism.
• The torment of false accusation.
• Left unresolved cases.²

How to deal with anger

If you think about how to manage your anger when you’re feeling calmer, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed by it in the heat of the moment. You can:

● Learn your triggers

Understanding what sort of situation trigger your anger means you can develop strategies to cope and think about how to react before the situstion happens. You might find it helpful to keep a diary or make notes about the times you have felt angry. You could record:
– What were the circumstance?
– Did someone say or do something to trigger your anger?
– How did you feel?
– How did you behave?
– How did you feel afterwards?

● Examine your thought patterns

If you’re feeling upset or angry, you might find yourself automatically thinking or saying things like:
– “This is all their fault.”
– “They never listen.”
– “This always happen to me.”
– “Other people should behave better.”

● Develop your communication skills

Being excessively angry and aggressive can get in the way of communicating your feeling effectively. People may focus on your anger and find it hard to listen to what you’re saying. On the other hand, if you are able to express your anger by talking in an assertive, respectful way about what has made your angry, then you’re more likely to be understood by others. Being assertive means standing up for yourself while still respecting other people and their opinions. It can:
– Make communication easier.
– Stop tense situations getting out of control.
-Benefit your relationship and self-esteem.

● Look at your lifestyle

Looking after your wellbeing more generally could help you feel calmer and more in control when thing things happen that make you feel angry. You might want to:
– Avoid drugs and alcohol.
– Be more active.
– Get good sleep.
– Look at what you’re eating and drinking.
– Learn to deal with pleasure.
– Develop your emotional resilience.³

Anger has done more harm than good in my Country, Sierra Leone.

Fellow Sierra Leoneans, the spirit of anger has indeed wreaked untold damage in our beloved
nation. Anger engendered by poverty, tribalism, wicked corruption and a mixture of suffocating problems caused the senseless decade-long civil war which massacred thousands of innocent lives, propertise, communities…etcetera. Oh the thought of it is still frightening!

So we must learn positive lessons.

Anger is toxic, self-destructive and highly inflammable. It eats you up mercilessly. So runaway from it!

To develop a much more prosperous society, we must endeavour to contain anger and stop it from clouding our reasoning power! This is the only way to avoid another war and to set ourselves on the golden path to everlasting peace, security and prosperity!

In the meantime, reflect on these words:

Whenever we are faced with a dilemma, we must never respond with anger or annoyance. The spirit of annoyance ignites an inner negative propensity to make hasty and implusive judgements that could leave you dangerously vulnerable…”Anger may seem to be a source of energy, but it’s blind. It causes us to lose our restraint. It may stir courage, but again it’s blind” – ( His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

Admonition:
Anger is almost inimical to peaceful coexistence, and is a very dangerous weapon which one must try to avoid at all cost. The reason being that because of anger or rather the lack of self-control of our vexatious emotions, we have created problems for society mistakenly.

A clear-cut example is that of a wife who being annoyed at her husband’s late coming home on that fateful day got very angry and decided secretly to malice him. Her husband who came home late decided to attend to nature in the bathroom. A few minutes later, he encountered a serious heart attack and called his wife to the bathroom to rescue him. Unknown to the wife what had happened, she refused to answer her husband who eventually dropped dead. When the wife was pleased with herself, she observed that her husband had over stayed in the toilet and became anxious. Out of concern, she rushed into the bathroom only to find her husband sprawled on the floor with blood on his nose, stone dead. This is the result of uncontrollable anger. So I dare say that, this is a lesson for us all never to let our anger over-rule us.

“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” -¾

FOOTNOTES:

¹www.repentancerevival.com

² Facebook Page

³ Published By Mind (2016) Pages 11-14
Written By: Kathrine Dunn

¾ Proverbs 16:32

© Juliet Rogers,
Sociètal Engineer, Life&Emotional Intelligence Coal.

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