What I’ve learned from throwing temper and how it doesn’t solve problems
Why do we throw our temper?
Because someone gotten on our nerves and we should let that person know our feelings and that we’re not a pushover? Actually, nope.
So… Why do we really throw our temper?
Because of our pride and ego. Because we’re unhappy and we want the person who made us unhappy to be miserable, too.
The problem is, when the other person is miserable, he or she might (most probably) throw his or her temper, too.
Eventually, both of you would be exchanging words — and maybe even vulgarities — that we don’t usually say in other neutral or positive situations.
Do you know what is the worst of all? The problem will still be unsolved.
The funny thing is, most of us know this so damn well but refuse to put in the effort to do something about it.
Oftentimes, we allow our anger and other (negative) emotions to control us. We allow ourselves to be lost in anger, jealousy, hatred… You name it, you’ve got it.
I want to share three key observations from my own experiences of throwing my temper — and how 99.99 percent of the time, it didn’t solve the problems.
1. Out of unhappiness (and sense of unfairness), not anger
We hate to admit this but we’re all selfish to a certain degree. As long as we have any worldly possessions — family, money, assets, status — there will always be a tendency to be selfish.
Who would want to lose any of our possessions? Even the gift of life, will render almost all humans selfish. No one would throw themsevles under the bus for a stranger. No way.
So likewise when it comes to emotions, we want the other person to feel as miserable as we are. That’s why there’s so much hatred, jealousy and bottled-up anger in the world.
When we get angry, we want the other person to get a sense of our feelings. We want them to pay for making us angry. Sounds pretty perverse but that’s what I realised from my own experiences of anger.
When someone pisses me off, I want to give that someone a piece of my mind. See what I did there? If your mind is filled with anger, you want that person who filled your mind with anger, to have a piece of that.
But essentially, your mind is just filled with unhappiness, for me, at least.
Take for example, someone were to step on your foot, doesn’t matter if it’s intentional or not, you want them to feel the same pain. So you step on that someone’s foot back. Sounds familiar?
Tit for tat. An eye for an eye. Blow for blow. Revenge, revenge, revenge.
Similarly for unhappiness — or anger as most of us feel it — we want the other person to feel it, too.
You can shout at that person, insult, beat, injure, or even do harm to people who matter to that person. But what happens, then?
2. Throwing temper and anger begets more anger
If the other person is more or less like you (most of the time, yes), then that person would be doing the exact same thing back to you.
That’s how fights break out. That’s how families break up. That’s how companies fall apart. That’s how societies crumble and break apart. And that’s how war between two countries (or more) start.
It is no surprise why animals even of the same species fight. It could be for food, for shelter, basically because of primal instincts and needs.
It is no surprise why humans tear each other apart, too. We are all governed by our primal instincts anyway. But I would prefer to believe we have the ability to control them (our emotions), that’s why we are the dominant species in the world, advancing technology and improving our lives.
Well, most of us refuse to spend the effort to control our urges and emotions, though. It is easier to just lose our temper or give in to urges and temptations.
But where does that leave us? No different from animals without the ability to control emotions? Do we really want to be classified as “animals”?
In fact, some animals are able to control their emotions and primal instincts. They — and we — possess willpower. And willpower is a muscle. Which means it can be trained, whether or not we are humans or animals.
But we need to constantly exercise our willpower. Not just to complete tasks to get rewards, but to control our emotions so that we can achieve more.
Not sure if you realise it but our productivity and willingness to work or complete tasks fall dramatically when we are experiencing negative emotions.
This is not to say we do not have the right to feel negative at all. It just means people who can control their emotions or revert back to neutral or positive (promptly), would be able to achieve more.
However, if we don’t exercise our willpower, we might even end up acting very different from when we are feeling neutral or positive. And that can be very destructive, almost all the time.
3. Out of control state from anger — saying and doing what we don’t mean to
We all have given ourselves the excuse: I said and did those because I was out of control!
But never once, would we calm down and tell ourselves that we are in control of our emotions. Because it seems like a given that we can let our emotions take over control.
Since young, most of our parents have thrown their tempers at us, at least once. It feels like as long as we did something wrong, our parents would have the ‘right’ to get angry at us.
I guess this got kind of ingrained in our minds. As long as someone does something wrong, I’ve got the right to be angry and throw my temper. That way, he or she will learn not to mess with me again.
Television dramas and movies also always depict scenes where characters just allow their emotions to take them over.
Of course, right? Who would want to watch a drama or movie to see how characters control — and suppress — their emotions? There won’t be any excitement anymore. There won’t be drama.
But we fail to realise if we were to allow our emotions to get out of control, we say and do things we don’t mean to. That includes shouting at your loved ones, insulting a close friend, beat someone up or even murdering in some cases.
Most of the time, we end up regretting everything we said or did when we were ‘out of control’. And as said earlier, the problem is still unsolved at the end of the day.
But we still keep doing it. We are all humans afterall. Emotions are the reasons why we have came so far. Emotions helped us build relationships (some strong and some weak) and build our personalities.
So is there anything that we can do to control our emotions instead of allowing our emotions to control us — at least at times when it really matters?
What we can do
Personally, I would always try to take at least five to ten seconds to react to anything negative.
If someone pissed you off, ask yourself: is that person doing it intentionally?
If no, getting angry and throwing your temper is not going to solve anything. Educating that person in a mutually beneficial way could help you build a stronger relationship and increase your emotional intelligence. All in all, the long-term benefits outweight the short-term cathartic release.
If yes, is that person even worth your time and emotions? Sometimes ignoring is not a sign of weakness, it just means you are able to be the bigger person to forgive and forget. You might not see that person very often or that might even be the last time seeing him or her. Just let it go. For your own sake.
Getting angry and throwing your temper will never solve problems. If anything, the solution or mitigation will only be temporary.
Short-term solutions are just band-aids to a gun wound. The bullet is still embedded in the wound — you have to remove the bullet and stitch the wound up. It’s going to be extremely painful but that’s the only true way to solve it.
I would like to think I’m on the quest to understand myself better through these collective of “What I’ve learned from…” articles. I believe self-awareness leads to self-improvement, which leads to action and certainly and inevitably to failures. But only with failure, would I be introduced to success.
“Failure introduces you to success.” — Billionaire P.A. from Wealthy Minds Online