July 26, 2010
The verbal abuse and outburst of Mel Gibson last week was made public on the Net and in the printed press all over the country. One could argue that the fact that Grigorieva (Mel’s ex-girl friend) taped the “conversation” is objectionable, particularly if the intent was not only to expose him but also to make a profit by selling the tape to the media.
One could also object (and I do) to the publication of both the audio and printed version of his deplorable comments. The media need not to convey such garbage.
Nevertheless Mr. Gibson said what he said and there are no excuses, ever for being racist and abusive.
How do we deal or should deal with anger? We have all encountered it either as the perpetrator or as the victim in both our private and professional life.
Below are some thoughts that might be helpful.
Anger is sometimes a legitimate emotion. Once we recognize that fact, we may be more serene in our reaction to it. We get angry when we feel betrayed or when we think someone has broken a promise, whether explicitly or implicitly. Anger is justified whether we or others are victim of the injustice.
Anger is a very debilitating emotion that often suspends reason. Once reason is suspended, we are at the mercy of committing irresponsible actions.
We should remember that anger like most emotions does not last. Aaron Ben-Ze’ev in his book The Subtlety of Emotions says that anger usually lasts a few minutes and rarely for a few hours. That must be the reason why the law requires a 48-hours “cooling time” before someone can purchase a handgun. When you feel anger rising, why don’t you take a breather, walk around the block or listen to music. Distraction, in this case, is highly recommended!
We can control anger. Anger is the cause of the first recorded murder in History. Cain killed Abel, his brother, because he was angry. God warned him when he said:
“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must master it.”
Our anger can also be misguided. More often than not, our anger is based on assumptions, rumors and hearsay, not on facts. We should make sure, before we get angry, that our information is factual.
We should also consider that our anger may have its origin in our own past or trauma and may not be directly related to the actual incident that provokes our anger. That possibility was explored in the magnificent 1957 Sidney Lumet movie Twelve Angry Men.
Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote:
P.S. I hope that reading this blog entry did not make you……really angry!