Recently, young people have been asking me time and time again. how it is that I have been able to maintain my present state of health and attitude at my age. It has happened so often that I just had to look into my past, my diet, my activities, my associates, my religious life and everything else that I could think of. I know I do like being with people. Finally, it dawned on me. I don’t get angry! And, I think it has been proven that anger is a debilitating emotion that damages the body.
Then the question becomes “Why don’t I get angry…ever..no matter what happens?”
That question started me to thinking. I know that sometimes in my very distant past, I did get angry. But I don’t remember why. And, I cannot now pick out any specific times that I was angry. What I do remember on the positive side is the time I heard a highly regarded life insurance agent (I think he was the General Agent for Columbus Life) saying the following:
“If you allow someone to make you angry, you allow him to control you!”
In addition to that statement was added the old standby “Anger never solved anything”. That was at least 40 years ago or more. I know it was in the early days of my life insurance career. I never forgot it and have passed on that advice many, many times to younger people.
Do not mistake frustration for anger. They are two different things. Anger is usually caused by people; frustration is often caused by events. I cannot remember the last time I was angry or why!
Getting back to the advice by the General Agent: He enlarged on his statement as follows as best I can remember. “If somebody ‘dumps’ on you, the normal reaction is to become defensive and you become tense.”
Wrong. Disarm the guy by saying something like “Wow! I must have done something really stupid to make you feel this way! Please, please tell me what I did and I’ll try to make it right!” or “Gee- If I’ve said something to offend you, I’m sure it must be a misunderstanding and I’d like to clear it up!”
Hopefully, the offended party will back off and give you reasons for his actions. If the reasons apply, apologize and try to make amends. If they don’t apply, say something like “Oh my. That’s not what I meant at all, what I meant to convey was____” and finish with a clarification.
If he is reasonable, that should clear the air. If he refuses to accept your apology, say you’re sorry he feels that way and walk away and just feel sorry for him without any self-recriminations.