Anybody 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
Abraham Lincoln was president in trying times but learned to manage his anger. One technique was writing a letter in which he vented his frustrations. After penning the letter, he read it, sealed it, but did NOT mail it. Instead, he put it in a desk drawer.
After a few hours, Lincoln reread the letter. Most of the time, he found that his anger had abated. There was no need to send the letter or to keep on being angry. The time spent waiting between writing the letter and then reading it again cooled him down. In that way he could “attend to the matter with a clearer eye.” However, with what we assume was a “clearer eye,” he was angry enough at the institution of slavery to act.
Anger is a feeling and all feelings need to be acknowledged and accepted. Anger, like joy and sorrow, is often warranted and, at times, motivates us to act. It’s how we express our anger—in destructive or constructive ways— that matters.
Affirmation: I manage my anger and use it constructively.
Coaching questions: What techniques do you use to manage your anger? In what ways do you express your anger? How do you channel your anger into constructive outcomes?