Yesterday I was so angry that I wanted to SCREAM. I share this because I am a mature person who always tries to think things through when something happens to me. But not yesterday! Yesterday I wanted to SCREAM and SHOUT and let everyone know how I felt about watching a grown man sitting on the passenger side of his car dump the ashes, cigarette butts, used chewing gum and who knows what else out of his ashtray unto the pavement. Putting the issue of littering aside, his chosen “trash bin” was exactly where I had to walk to access the driver’s side of my car. He saw me approaching but that did not deter him. He continued to clean out paper cups, a soda bottle, used paper napkins, candy wrappers etc. without missing a beat. He did not apologize or say excuse me as I approached to get into my car, he just continued cleaning as though he was doing something totally acceptable. I looked at him with a scowl on my face but then reconsidered as he stared back at me as if to say, “You got a problem?”
I did have a problem, I wanted to scream at him and tell him, “What do you think you are doing; don’t you know littering is against the law?” I could feel my blood pressure rising and I actually wanted to punch him in his face but sanity prevailed. I knew if I responded in this manner what would likely happen. I thought he is bigger than me and second, in today’s world, if he pulled all of that garbage out of his car perhaps he could also pull out a gun. Regardless, I felt rage. What was I suppose to do? Step over all the trash and slide into my car? That’s exactly what I did. As the kids would say, I was chicken. Or was I?
Although my anger increased as I tried to navigate around his trash, I knew better than to say anything to this person. My rage did not control me; I was rational. If I had screamed at him I might have become part of his trash that he so nonchalantly tossed out of his car. My rage did not stop me from analyzing the situation in terms of understanding that anyone who so casually disregarded the law probably would not think twice about showing his rage right back at me.
As I think back on the whole scenario I thought what were my options? There were none in terms of thinking about ways to handle him but there were plenty in terms of how to handle me. I read an article from the American Psychological Association sharing, “Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. (“Controlling Anger” ( www.apa.org)
However I know without doing any research that anger that turns into rage is not healthy and can create emotional problems and erode personal and professional relationships.
So, what do you do when you want to SCREAM, SHOUT, and declare WAR? Might I suggest that we stop and breath deeply, find a quite spot and think about our options, then act accordingly? Anger and rage produce nothing but more anger and rage but turning them into options gives us a thinking outlet to assess. Either, we can do something about whatever provoked us, and if so ACT. If we can’t do anything about it, let is go and MOVE ON. We have more powerful, intimate, exciting people, places and things to think about.