Have you ever had, at least once in your life, the feeling of falling into anger and losing control?
Here is a beautiful excerpt from Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s book On Anger, on Leisure, on Clemency, which describes the effects that anger generates in people.
Let’s read it together.
You provide the most reliable proof of greatness when nothing can touch you.
The part of the universe that is highest, most harmonious, and closest to the stars does not thicken into clouds, does not break out into storms, does not stir in whirlwinds; it is free from any disorder: it is the lower parts that are struck by thunderbolts.
Similarly, the excellent soul, always serene and assigned to a quiet watch post, stepping on all the causes of anger is balanced, respectable and tidy; none of these qualities you will find in the angry person.
For he who is in the grip of sorrow and madness, first of all, loses respect.
He who is overwhelmed by passion and rages against someone loses all that is respectable in him.
He who is upset disregards the number and ranking of duties, does not restrain his tongue, does not control any part of his body, cannot control himself once he has let himself go.
Well, losing control is neither pleasant nor convenient.
To persuade us of the opportunity to keep control and not to do stupid things, Seneca relies on self-respect and inner balance; and while the former is certainly quite widespread, the latter is a rare commodity.
I thought about this for a while, and I came up with an answer.
You may have noticed that anger tends to explode in situations where we can prevail: we have a weapon, we are endowed with superior physical strength or simply the person against whom we release our adrenaline is unable to defend himself.
If you are thinking of aggressing a woman, think about what might happen if she is carrying pepper spray or is a martial arts expert.
Or, if you are driving and you feel like railing against the car that cut you off, think that the driver might have a violent, outsized reaction and not just yell at you for his (un)reasons.
In short, if before unleashing your anger you start thinking that you might come off worse in the fight, your tempers will likely find peace.
What do you think?
Do you have a different strategy?