Book Reviews - The fire of ire
by Y. Karunakara Rao
Anger is an emotion common to all mankind, regardless of age, brilliance, social status and so on. It can also be one of the most destructive forces in our lives and decimate relationships; even cause wars. And yet, we don't master it. Instead, we blame parents, the environment we live in, and society. Although they influence our perception of anger, as we become adults, it is our responsibility to manage our anger.
In the ultimate analysis, anger is only an energy form and instead of venting it destructively, we can choose to use it to strengthen relationships and to express our needs constructively. That, at least, is how Dr. Chapman sees it. Labelling anger as a negative emotion is a misconception, he argues. On the contrary, anger is a direct consequence of a concern for justice and righteousness. Which is why anger is most aroused when injustice is perceived to be done.
The author has presented a five-step process to deal with anger: Consciously acknowledge to yourself that you are angry, restrain your immediate response, locate the focus of your anger, analyse your options, and take constructive action.
Most of us typically have two responses to anger: Verbal or physical venting, or withdrawal and silence. Both are destructive. Instead, the author suggests loving confrontation. Remember to ask yourself two fundamental questions: Is your response to anger positive and loving? That is, does the action you are considering have any potential for dealing with the wrong and helping the relationship? And is it best for the person at whom you are angry?
The second option is to consciously decide to overlook the matter and commit the person to God. It is releasing the anger to God. You are making a conscious choice to overlook the offence for your own well-being.
Even distorted anger needs adequate attention, he says, since anger doesn't rid us of our feelings of hatred. The remedy requires you to negotiate understanding with the person who you think wronged you.
It is neither abnormal nor unusual to experience anger in married life. However, it is certainly irresponsible not to learn how to deal with it appropriately. Similarly, it is very natural for children to experience anger; it is an opportunity for parents to instil in them the right patterns of anger management.
On the whole, this book offers wise and doable methods of dousing the fire of ire.
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