Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.-Cherie Carter-Scott
I’ve experienced first-hand how anger makes me feel, and I really don’t like it. I understand what Cherie means when she says that it makes us smaller, for the times that I’ve been angry have not been the best of times for me. And while it can be very important to express our anger, it isn’t always the case; in addition, many of us just stay angry without ever expressing it. This can be even more damaging than letting our anger out.
When we’re thinking completely objectively, it’s pretty easy to see the advantages of forgiveness over anger. Forgiveness keeps us focused on love, and it recognizes another person’s right to make mistakes without being severely punished for them. True forgiveness allows us to let go of anger and resentment, freeing up our minds and spirits to allow them to focus on more important things such as love and compassion.
Anger, on the other hand, keeps us focused on what we perceive to be negative incidents or actions. Anger keeps us dwelling in the past as long as we keep running over in our minds the “awful” things that someone has done. Anger holds us as its prisoner, and our minds and spirits are not free to find positive and constructive things upon which to stay focused–we hold them back because we like to feel the self-righteousness that comes with most anger.
Yes, much anger is justified, but as we hold on to it, it becomes less and less justified, and more and more destructive. The best way to deal with anger is to face it directly and then let it go–not because someone else has bent to our will and begged forgiveness, but because we’re willing to forgive and move on with our lives and keep growing as human beings.
Questions to consider:
What are some inappropriate ways of dealing with anger? How many people practice these ways?
What are some of our self-defined limits to forgiveness?
How does anger really make us smaller?
For further thought:
Anger is the most futile emotion one can experience. It is totally negative and feeds on one’s irrational, vindictive, and punitive nature. It accomplishes nothing but a wider rift between persons, growing dissatisfaction with self, and an empty feeling where loving understanding ought to be.-Louise Doud