Saturday, January 29, 2011

When Is It GOOD To Get Angry?

Have you ever noticed that we get angry (or at least show it) only with those who we think are weaker than us? Thus it seems OK for parents or teachers to be angry with children, for officers and trainers to shout at teachers. But if children are angry with adults, even if they are in the right and the adult is in the wrong, it is considered NOT OK! And teachers, when upset with their so-called 'superiors' either keep quiet or make some sort of mild protest. Only occasionally does it boil over, and when it does, it is again considered NOT OK!

So what is the view we should take? Is it a good idea not to get angry at all? This is the advocated position of many. In fact there are training programmes (including those for teachers) on anger management (i.e., about managing the anger we show to those who we consider our 'inferiors'). These include things called 'positive discipline' and 'emotional punishment' – as if it is OK to do the same old thing in another way.

 In case this is not clear, the 'same old thing' means the belief that it is OK for adults to have power over children, or for some to be considered 'superiors' of others. The 'anger management' and 'positive' approach does not question this right to discipline or punish – it only says 'do it less violently please, but do it because you have a right to do it.' Something wrong there, isn't it?

The other approach would be – get angry wherever you should! That is, if you are in the right, get angry with your boss or with the adult (if you are a child or an adolescent), if they are in the wrong. Do I hear you clicking your tongue again? Something doesn't sound QUITE OK about this, isn't it? How can those who are 'below' scream at those who are 'above'? You fear it will lead to conflict, division and general breakdown of order (i.e. of who should listen to whom).

Hmm, perhaps this kind of all-round getting angry business won't really help. We're too scared of it anyway.

But it also seems there are areas where we SHOULD GET ANGRY – and we don't. When a child is molested or deprived or hurt or demeaned – we don't see much anger. When teachers who really want to teach better and teach differently are ridiculed to the extent that they give up trying to improve – we see NO anger. When a girl is brutalized (or even killed) because she refused to get married at 14, we don't seethe with anger! When an education system is run year after year and the children who've invested their entire childhood in it, emerge without any learning to show for it – we are simply not consumed with anger!

IT – IS – NOT – OK.



Go out. Get angry. Preserve this anger. Don't let it dry up. Spend it - drop by drop. Keep at it. And at it. Till that which makes you angry is snuffed out. Totally.


Rajeshri said...

i cant control on my anger when somthing going wrong [ in my view ] and on that time i m right also but its creat problem and to solve it i have to compromise[in personal & profession life] it is good?
2nd thing that sombody tell me change ur thinking like if u r making painting on that time u r enjoying but if sombody spoiled it dont b angry just think that he is enjoying to spoil it

Falguni said...

anger dont always harm or prove unhealthy if it warn and warn for a cause, reconstruct..

Rashmi said...

Hi Subir,
Totally agree with you. But the risk is that the ‘People Above’ ensure that people below who make People Above angry are completely wiped out n their energy snuffed-out. I am not saying so out of any frustration but to warn comrades to be more strategic. One of a People Above told me, if you do it, it would be a ‘murder’ but when I would it, it would be ‘sentenced to death’. So....Get ANGRY...n play cool.

Subir Shukla said...

Anger is natural, but giving into it is not a great idea. As Rashmi says, get angry but be cool, be strategic. Anger is a resource, to be spent 'drop by drop'. Without this kind of passion, it is difficult to sustain the struggle for justice, for rights and for basic human dignity.

Renu said...

It is also important to remember that most of us react when in anger...if we can wait and respond rather than react - it may be possible to convey your point of view to a child, colleagues,friend
s and more....

Subir Shukla said...

Absolutely! There is a need to be more in control rather than simply giving in to anger.

AMIT RAI said...

ANGER is something that is good only when shown in RIGHT way/ manner ,with RIGHT person ,at RIGHT time.

Anonymous said...

You rarely find a person who justify your anger... then it does no good to you or the 'target'.And then the good cause of the well intended anger is