The Billion Dollar Emotion
While watching the presidential debates, I've been reminded of how much unproductive energy goes into being angry. I also thought about how much money gets spent on our collective expression of anger.
Here's a short list of how we, as a species, spend money as a result of how anger gets expressed.
We spend money on:
- wars of aggression and retaliation
- rebuilding and rehabilitating what was destroyed in wars of aggression and retaliation
- greediness that keeps resources from all but the select few around the world
- medical bills from stress"accidents"caused when people are so angry they do stupid things like get drunk and drive, get angry and drive, start a fight, among other things
- law suits
- psychotherapy session
- drug and alcohol abuse
- over drinking
- over spending
- prescription drugs for depression, hypertension, and other anger related symptoms
Besides these physical realities of how money is spent when anger is released without thought or compassion, when the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll is added on, this brings us to an enormously high overall cost.
We are going to get angry. Being incensed over an injustice, a slight, an unkindness, or aggressive behaviors should make us angry. All emotions have a purpose. When we feel an emotion, we're meant to take action to relieve the emotion. With anger, the more serious offenses naturally lead to heightened expressions of anger. Anger can be exercised either positively or negatively. We always have a choice.
When we act consciously and compassionately, our emotions can be a built-in driving force for positive change.
One way to be healthier even as we get angry over injustice, hurtful words and actions, aggressiveness, and slights is to take command of our own thoughts and respond appropriately. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was an African-American educator, presidential adviser, activist, and author during a time of open hostility and aggression towards people from his background. Here's what he said: "It is now long ago that I resolved that I would permit no man, no matter what his colour might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him."
Washington allowed the Emperor's energy of Aspiration to guide him so that he could fulfill his potential even as he lived in an oppressive environment.
To be healthy and prosperous, individually and collectively, we have to learn to use anger as a motivator to be productive and positive in the world.
Do you have any examples of where anger takes a serious toll on your life? Recognizing where we put our anger energy is a first step toward making a positive change.