On a plane from Newark to Houston, I sat next to an older couple. During the flight, the man had a few inappropriate angry outbursts. Luckily his wife kept him quiet for most of the trip. It was uncomfortable but I was on a plane and there was no where else to go.
What do you do when you are faced with anger in a situation like that when you can’t walk away? In that case, I just tried to be kind. When I saw the couple in line for the next leg of the flight, I didn’t talk to them much, but when I did, again I tried to be kind. Benevolence is kind of the opposite of anger.
Positivity is also a way to counter anger. I was marching in the LGBT pride parade once in New York when some angry protesters started yelling hateful things at us. We yelled back “We love you.” It didn’t make them stop yelling at us but it confused them. I didn’t really love the protestors (I don’t know if anyone did) but we were trying to swallow their negativity with positivity. Love conquers hate.
And then there’s humor. God hates Shrimp makes fun of anti-gay hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. Hate does not necessarily equal anger but it is often expressed in an angry way.
I grew up in a household with a very angry father. For most of the time, I couldn’t walk away. A few times, my mom told my brother and I to go to friends’ houses to escape. As a result, I have spent a lot of my adult life trying to avoid other people’s anger. I have also done a lot of work on my own anger, figuring out where it comes from and how to express it in healthier ways. It’s ok to be angry, it’s just not ok to have it bleed all over other people.
How do you react to anger? How do you express it?
Note: This series was inspired by the Month of Written Devotion idea. If you want to participate, go there for the list of daily prompts.