Who Wants to Be Angry All the Time?

This last week, I encountered a number of angry, irritated people. A couple of them came out verbally swinging, and while my first reaction was to swing back, I didn’t. Instead, I did the old “a soft answer turns away wrath” thing.

palouse falls waterfall landscape wilderness washington steve henderson

Anger, like massive quantities of water, needs time and space to diffuse. Below Palouse Falls, art print from Steve Henderson Collections

For one person, it worked. He calmed down, and by the end of the interaction we were new friends. His problem was successfully resolved.

The other guy wasn’t having anything to do with soft answers, and was fully into wrath. He was not interested in explanations, reparations, or solutions: he just wanted to vent. Which he did, vociferously.

Suffice it to say, his problem was not solved, and we did not part friends.

Lots of people are angry these days, and understandably so. We live in a society where there are decided problems and issues, but no person within our reach who can actually solve them. Instead, we shuffle from one “customer care,” customer service, or political aide to the next, with the too frequent response of, “Gee, we’re sorry this happened, but I can’t do anything on my end. I’m really really sorry.”

It’s easy to get mad at the messengers, because they’re the only ones we can talk to. The people with power to make things right hide in the shadows.

The artwork, Below Palouse Falls, gives a visual of where we might want to be in this frustrating situation. In our anger, we’re upriver at Palouse Falls (center background — you can see the spray). By the falls proper, a vast cascade of water floods over the cliffs, roiling and boiling in the pool, 200 feet below. This is our anger, and while we are here, we are in danger from the power and flow of water. It can drown us.

But just below the falls, the water calms, and we are able to think more clearly. We need not (and should not) give up pursuing justice, but we do so more wisely and well when we are not venting, in a state of furious, impotent rage.

In a clear place, in a quiet state, we more effectively act.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Your Vote Is Worth Less Than Your Prayer

Little Things Really Do Make a Big Difference

Are You Important?

 

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
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