How to use anger without being used by anger (Anger management series 6)
Suppose someone we are responsible for does something self-destructive, even after we have repeatedly warned them against doing so. At such times, anger may be a justified response to jolt them out of their self-destructiveness. But how can we use anger without being used by anger? By changing our driving question from “How could they have done that?” to “How can I serve in this situation?”
The first question often arises from our default self-conception, which is that we are controllers. When we feel that they are challenging our control, we may go to any extremes to reassert our control, thereby letting ourselves be used by anger for its own purposes. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita warns that anger can make our life hellish (16.21)
Thankfully, Gita wisdom helps us understand who we really are: servitors of the supreme controller, Krishna. He is also the supreme benefactor and he has a place for us in his plans to benefit everyone. And we never lose that place even if those we care for or we ourselves sometimes mess things up. With this self-understanding, we gain an inner security and higher purpose that centers on the driving question: “In this situation, how can I best serve Krishna and serve this person in relationship with Krishna” Such a question shifts our focus from how they have defied us to how we can aid them in making better choices.
By the combination of inner self-security and outer service orientation, we can gain the maturity to use anger for emphatically explaining to them the gravity of their choices.
To use anger instead of being used by anger, change your driving question from, “How can they do something like this?” to “How can I best serve in this situation?”
Think it over:
- Which self-conception makes us vulnerable to be used by anger? Explain.
- What self-conception equips us to use anger? Explain.
- Consider a provocative situation where you feel that anger is a justified response. Plan how you can use anger without being used by anger.
16.21: There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image