Anger: Why It’s a Choice, Not a Reaction

My Sunday post addresses a growth area for me or an area I am loathe to admit. I was and to a certain extent will always be an angry young man at heart. Angry when I see injustice, angry when I experience selfishness or ignorance, angry for some silly reasons which are I am not proud of. I have a propensity for a bad temper on occasions but do my utmost to curb this as much as possible. 

I have had to learn two methods or principles to manage this and I wanted to share it what I am now going to call sharing Sunday…  

1. Hanlon’s razor and 2. The Assent quote from Epictitus’ Discourses and mentioned by several great philosophers.

First Hanlon’s Razor: ‘Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect’. This mental model asks if there is another reasonable explanation for the events that have occurred. The explanation most likely to be right is the one that contains the least amount of intent. You got spoken over in a meeting, did they mean to be rude to you or did they make a mistake or think you were finished? Use Hanlon’s razor!

2. In Epictetus’ Discourses. I.28.4, “When someone assents to a false proposition, be sure that they did not want to give their assent, since, as Plato says, ‘Every soul is deprived of the truth against its will.’ They simply mistook for true something false.”

Marcus Aurelius uses this last part as a mantra in Meditations  ‘Every soul is deprived of the truth against its will.’ “It’s absolutely essential to keep this constantly in mind,” he explains, “because then you’ll be gentler with everyone.”

Don’t be so hard on people who offend you, or hurt you somehow. I remember hearing some old lady in a bus queue saying to a friend “If they knew better they would do better

The same holds true for justice, self-control, goodwill to others, and every similar virtue. It’s essential to constantly keep this in your mind, for it will make you more gentle to all

I keep these thoughts in my head when I am turned toward anger and complaint. I share them with you today. Hearty handshakes from me to you

Published by NCS

reader of great literature, teller of tales, photographer of mostly awful snaps but on occasion I am half decent.

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