“Anyone can become angry- that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way- that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”—-Aristotle
Bella and her siblings were seated in the sitting room. They were eager to listen to their mum share a familiar story about Bella’s behaviour as a toddler. It was the family’s custom to have their mother tell the childhood story of every one of them on their respective birthday celebrations. That day, it was Bella’s.
Everyone was familiar with her story but listening to it again still tickled them; as a result, it was never stale no matter the number of times they heard it.
“When Bella was three years old” their mum narrated, “she exhibited a weird behaviour that amazed people. Whenever she did not have her way; get what she wants, or is deprived of what was once in her custody, she would get so upset, tighten herself, and scream, looking at the adult with some hope of a rethink. If nothing happens, she would look around the floor and begin to clear off all objects that had the potential of hurting her. When she cleared them enough to her satisfaction, she would lie gently on the floor and begin to cry, rolling and throwing her legs in the air. Most times, the adult gives in, completely blown away by her cautiousness in expressing her anger.”
Bella and her siblings were already drowned in laughter when their mother finished. They had been struggling to listen till the end before bursting into laughter.
Bella’s behaviour, though childish and funny, can be amplified and applied to our daily, personal, and collective experiences?
Our anger towards a family member, a friend, or a random individual, causes us to take actions that we think is hurting them without realising how much damage we do to ourselves by giving in, expressly, to our feelings without looking out for ‘hurdles’ and ‘sharp objects’ on the floor like young Bella did. This is where you see siblings, couples, or two well-dressed passengers, for example, throwing punches at each other until they are left with gory injuries or either of them dies at the spot.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman philosopher and statesman said “Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.”
A certain group of people who feel cheated or sidelined take to declaring uncalculated war which fills their abode with the blood of people who did not have the patience to ask the right questions, seek a better strategy, and clear the ground on which they seek to vent. It then becomes the case of a rock that gets shattered upon the very thing it seeks to crush.
Anger is an emotion characterised by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. That being said, these are the words of Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, and polymath: “Anyone can become angry- that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way- that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
With the assumption that we get angry at the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, and for the right purpose, we should now ask ourselves “do we express our anger in the right way?”
Ang Lee said “Sometimes, you have to get angry to get things done”, but not if we refuse to resist the temptation to be destructive and put in the effort to express our anger the right way to produce the result we desire.
Again, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman philosopher and statesman said “Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.”
If we take a moment to reflect on the chaotic situation our country has been in and still swimming in, we would grasp the importance of expressing our anger the right way, be it on a personal or national level.
Every path has its pleasure and price. If we embrace the pleasure that comes from instantaneous and unconstructive venting, we will always pay the price of lives and property. But if we pay the price of critical and strategic planning, we will often bask in the pleasure from the progress of achieving a measurable and realistic goal.
♦ Favour Chiagozie Ebubechukwu is an Editorial Staff Writer and columnist with the WAP
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