- Thoughts for inspired living

June 3, 2014

Justifying Anger

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:36 am

C332954 m“The hallmark of an often angry person is justification.” That’s what The Grasshopper offered on a walk this past weekend.

Everyone gets angry from time to time. Even Jesus threw a fit and threw the money changers out of the temple.

What about the person who’s almost always angry? What you will find if you listen to them is one justification after another about why they are angry.

The justification makes their anger all right for them as long as they can assign it to someone or something.

I don’t know about you but I don’t see very many, very old, angry people. It seems that there is an earlier expiration date for the perpetually angry. Not only that, people, in general, are very uncomfortable around angry people and start to avoid them at every turn.

Angry people wind up alone with their anger and they keep it in place with their never ending justifications. Now that’s something to get angry about.

All anger isn’t unproductive. Some people build empires on anger. Others use their anger to structure a hierarchy of rules that provide guidelines for living more efficiently. Others bury their anger so they don’t become out of control.

Anger doesn’t serve you when it’s not serving a purpose. A couple of years ago I met an extremely angry man who is incredibly successful. He had a scapegoat for every bit of his anger and it was beginning to take its toll on him – on edge, short temper, acid reflux, hard to warm up to, and the list went on and on.

I mentioned to him that he was angry and he was angry that I noticed. After he calmed down a bit, I mentioned that anger has its uses but when it’s not serving a purpose, it’s turning on him. I had his attention.

My suggestion to him was to notice his anger, not justify it. Instead of saying, I’m so mad because so and so did such and such, just notice that you are feeling angry without any justification. Just notice the sensation in your body. Just noticing your anger allows it to dissipate. Justifying it just keeps it in place.

I made a connection with him that day. I only hope, for his sake, that the connection continues. He’s truly a creative giant in his field and brings lots of enjoyment to lots of people. My sincere hope is that he can bring more of it into his own life.

We all can. We just have to begin noticing our anger without justification. Justification is a drug that keeps us hooked on anger.

It only seems fitting to end this with one of my favorite quotes from The Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned.”

All the best,


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