Getting Angry

“I admire you. I’ve never seen you get angry at work.”

“I don’t get angry at work,” I replied, and the rest of my response was lost as we navigated back to our tables and food. He never heard the rest of my answer.

It’s not completely true, of course. I’m a normal human being, I do get angry at times. Like another colleague though, I usually bottle it inside. However, I don’t get angry in the traditional sense. I actually usually get angry because my parents have triggered it somehow. My anger is usually directed at my parents, and in my own mind, often justified.

I cannot stay angry for long though. At work, I subscribe to an unconscious philosophy that it’s work. It’s a job. Anger is an emotion that has no place in what I’m doing. If I’m angry at someone, no, I realise I don’t get angry at someone. I get angry at their work.

That’s a very fine distinction, but it is true. I’ve been defensive, I’ve been fearful, and I’ve been fierce. I’ve been in bad moods before, and I’ve been in despair. But anger is not something I give in to. It comes up, I face it, then I go back to work. It’s damaging to me. I can’t write, nor can I think straight when I’m angry. There are times when I write things out of anger, but these are not things that are beneficial to me.

If they are not beneficial to me, why hold on to them?

I feel rage, I feel the passions of hate that some call anger. But these are very rarely directed at human beings for me. They are directed at concepts, at things, at actions, never the person. Because while that person may be responsible for their actions, they are not the sum of their actions. Get angry at what happened, not what the child did.

Would you beat a child that did something because they honestly did not understand?