Acting on Anger

Yesterday’s Daily Stoic was about how anger is the worst vice. It explained how many of the things we think of as vices are more self damaing, but anger damages others. This was timely in a way. Just a little late for me, however.

I’ve recently read a story that describes a stoic Abraham Lincoln, writing a letter of retort to someone out of anger yet sitting on it. In the end, Mr. Lincoln did not send it. There are many resources since then that suggest and encorage the same practice. When responding angry, don’t push send (or post). Sit on it. If you still think it is worth sending after a sufficient cool down period and that it will actually lead to positive results, go ahead and send.

I didn’t do this over the weekend. I wrote something off the cuff and in anger. I pushed send without a cool down period. Never once did I consider the good that it could lead to.

We all try and get better, but we fail sometimes.

It is difficult to deal with those that do not subscibe to a similar philosophy, and perhaps believe it to be productive to send messages or post things that are inappropriate or out of anger. Even more frustrating are those that seem to understand and agree with the philosophy, but turn around and post things out of anger anyway.

It doesn’t do any good. The only thing you can do is remain steadfast. If it is within your power, don’t read these messages. Unfollow, or stop reading the individual’s posts. Understand that these individuals can only change on their own terms, and that you’re angry response is not going to do any good. Indeed, it can do more harm.

Anger is the worst vice. Don’t act out of anger.

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