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When you lose your cool, you lose

Have you ever had a moment when someone got under your skin so bad that you wanted to lose your cool and snap?

It happens to all of us at least every once in a while.

People often ask me, “T.K., doesn’t it ever annoy you when you feel like you have to be the bigger man all the time?”

The short answer to that question is “yes.”

But here’s one of the valuable lessons life has taught me about losing one’s cool:

When you allow your frustration with a situation to make you lose self-control, people aren’t going to hold a conference and try to figure out what provoked you and how they can help alleviate the cause of your outrage. They’re just going to look at you (and treat you) like you’re crazy. In your head, you will be the misunderstood righteous person. In everyone else’s head, you’ll just be the crazy guy or the crazy lady doing the crazy things that crazy people do. You wont get your point across. You wont win the room. You wont gain anyone’s trust.

Being the bigger man isn’t about doing the right things so you can go to Heaven when you die. It’s about valuing what you have to say enough to abstain from the kind of behavior that will make you lose your audience every single time.

Sometimes you’ll run into people who know exactly what to say and how to say it to get a rise out of you.

When that happens, keep your cool. It might feel as if you’re letting them win, but the real winner is you.

It’s extremely difficult to stop a person with a level head and a clear conscience from being successful in the long run.

A person who lacks the ability to control their temper, however, doesn’t need an enemy because they’ll defeat themselves over and over again until they learn this lesson.

At least that’s the way I see it.

What about you?

Cheers 🙂

T.K. Coleman

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  1. Oh, I love this one! I went through three years of anger management when I was younger. Recently I’ve been thinking about rejoining a management group just to help others.

    You said that people ask you if you get annoyed with being the bigger man, your answer is yes. Well it is also annoying to always be considered the smaller person because of a few blow-ups that sometimes are not within our control. The three years I spent in therapy was all about how to remain a calm person and still get your point across, how to regain if you do happen to snap, but unfortunately being the smaller person will always be annoying.

    My therapist was a very understanding man, he never thought as anger being a mental problem, he thought of it more as an advantage that could be used if used properly. I use this concept as a way of reminding myself and others that just because you are mad, doesn’t mean you have to let it get out of control. He considered anger as a weapon that could be used productively and destructively, depending on the advantage in which you want.

    I’ve been known for using both methods. Destructively used can usually get you the title of crazy, productively used can usually get you the title of clever.

    Having been the smaller personfor awhile, even after the therapy, I still find that it doesn’t help to get mad at those who push you to that point, but sometimes it is nice to blow up in their face and show them that they annoy you. It doesn’t do you any good, but it actually makes you feel better.

    Sure a person who has the capablity to hold in their anger will deffinately be more successful, but the one who lets their anger be known has the ability to be just as successful.

    That’s what I’ve been taught, and that’s the phylosphy that I like to follow.

    What do you think??

    Cheers 🙂

    Emmy

    1. Thanks for that Emmy.

      I’ve read TK’s article and it certainly is good but what about the anger becoming so overwhelming that it feels like the only option. Sounds like I need anger management! My anger is particularly overwhelming, It’s definitely hormonal related. I few B vitamins won’t sort it but I digress.

      Finding a productive outlet for either anger or frustration sounds about right, wouldn’t it be detrimental to keep it in, practically swallow it and doctrinate yourself to think your the better man? It doesn’t work like that. Find the root cause the root feeling, then progress to becoming the better man. That oughta do it right?

      That’s my two Pence! (I’m a Brit! (^_^))
      Priti

      1. Hi Priti,

        I agree with you and Emmy here (see my response to her).

        Suppressing anger is no less dangerous than expressing it in self-destructive ways.

        Self-control is not synonymous with “holding it in.” Self-control is the art of being a participant, and not merely an observer, in the process of expressing one’s feelings.

        The solution to anger is not to push it away or suppress it, but to embrace it as a form of creative energy and use it to move your life in a direction that actually serves you.

        by the way, I like “two pence” 🙂

      2. Hi Priti,

        That’s an awesome name, I’d just like to say.

        Anywho. Anger can be an overwhelming emotion and it certainly has it’s time when it is the only felt option. One way I’ve always been able to remain calm is to stop and think about the things that could go wrong if you allow the anger to escalade, and the things that could go right if you try and find an alternative route.

        Anger management can be a self taught process, and it works just as well. You have it very right, swallowing the anger and doctrinating yourself to think of yourself as the better man doesn’t work. So yes, finding the root cause would be more efffective rather than stiffling the feelings. In return, yes, you do progress to a better person, but only in your own eyes. You can see yourself as a better person than you saw yourself yesterday, but other people may see you as unchanged, but I suppose what others see and what you see are two different things and the only one that matters is how you view yourself.

        Cheers

        Emmy 🙂

    2. Hi Emmy,

      As always, great thoughts!

      “You said that people ask you if you get annoyed with being the bigger man, your answer is yes. Well it is also annoying to always be considered the smaller person because of a few blow-ups that sometimes are not within our control.”

      I should probably clarify and say that I only repeat the phrase “bigger man” in the loose conventional sense that was employed when this question was posed to me. I would discourage anyone from thinking about human beings in categorical terms like “bigger person” and “smaller person.” It leads to self-righteousness among those who regard themselves as the “bigger people” and to self-condemnation among those who see themselves as the “smaller people.” Neither outcome is healthy. So, when you say “it is annoying to be considered the smaller person”, I would agree AND I would add that it is unhealthy, for everyone involved, to label anyone as “small.”

      I would agree with your therapist. All energy is neutral. When we say “negative” energy, we’re simply referring to neutral energy that we’re experiencing in a negative way because of a lack of understanding. Feelings are neither good or bad. They are simply feelings. We’re the ones who put our labels on them based on how effective we are at coping with and harnessing the energy of those feelings. There are ways of handling anger that are destructive and there are ways that are constructive. Anger is never the problem, but our inability to find healthy outlets of expression can lead to major problems.

      You say: “Sure a person who has the capablity to hold in their anger will deffinately be more successful, but the one who lets their anger be known has the ability to be just as successful.”

      Well, I would say that holding in one’s anger is just as unhealthy as expressing it in a destructive way. There is nothing optimistic or healthy, in my opinion about suppressing one’s feelings. There is a vast difference between constructively expressing one’s anger and holding it in. One of the things therapy has taught (and continues to teach) people like you and I is healthy, constructive, and creative ways to process our feelings. Self-control is not about denying one’s feelings. It’s about being conscious enough to recognize that you have the power to conduct the energy of your feelings in a way that serves your own higher interests. People who hold in their anger are, in my opinion, headed down a path of self-destruction. The trick with anger is to not allow ourselves to be fooled by the idea that “blowing up” is the only way to be truthful with our emotions. We should never be hard on ourselves when we do blow up, but we also should recognize that we have more options than that.

      Those are my thoughts. I don’t disagree with anything you say. I think you’re brilliant. You need to write a blog post on here. I’d let you. I like your thoughts.

      1. Hello T.K.

        Yes I agree fully that holding anger in is as destructive as expressing it wrongly. And you are very right. People that I know tend to get self-control confused and think that supressing any emotion would be productive, which in any case, can be productive depending upon the emotion. Anger is not one of the emotions to supress, but there is a time and place to express it. At the moment when you cannot reflect upon your anger is no the time to really be expressing it. Having the ability to remain calm and deal with the anger later is one way of productively using the options you have, this way usually helps the situation and helps you because it gives you a chance later to think through why you were angry with the situation. Having the abiliyt to express the anger in a productive manner at that moment can be useful also, but it is usually harder to handle if the situation remains to get worse.

        I don’t like to think of the first process as supressing or destructive, but more as a way of handling the situation in a manner of channeling the anger for a better moment to express. The second process is usually more difficult because not many people can be openly expressive about anger in a way that doesn’t cause the problem to escalade more.

        People who do hold in their anger are heading down paths of self-destructioin, there is no doubt about that path. It is very difficult to avoid this path, and sometimes the path is part of the greater journey in which we part take in.

        I would do a blog post, but I’m still a bit insecure for that just yet. I appreciate that you like my thoughts enough to offer though.

  2. Hello T.K., Emmy and Priti,

    So many good points. Anger seems to be the tough one. Probably why there are more replies here than usual.

    Believe it’s because we get the message from birth that it is a “bad” emotion especially when others around us reinforce that. So we equate self-control with not expressing any anger. Is this more a male trait from the past? Not sure. But by the time we’re adults, we’ve got some
    introspection and re-evaluating to do.

    Conversely, some people are not comfortable with anger, even appropriately expressed by another, so it can become a double-bind. We can learn from that too.

    Dr. Haim Ginott (Between Parent and Child) taught that “All emotions are accepted here. Not
    all actions.” Starting from childhood we would learn how to better express our emotions, to ourselves and others, and not catergorize them as “good” or “bad.” What we resist, persists.

    My friend, Edith, a clinical psychologist, would ask “If your anger could talk, what would it say?”
    Is it coming from some issues out of the past and “operating in the present without your permission?” That it doesn’t mean “harsh words and loud voices.” Sometimes anger is justified
    and some of the nicest, healthiest people I know have learned to express their anger calmly, through practice, rather than suppressing it continuously. They seem to have translated it into
    strength and conviction.

    Also believe that anger, properly channelled brings justice. Ever watched John Walsh from
    America’s Most Wanted. This is a man who has so capably re-directed his anger over the abduction and death of his son, Adam, many years ago. He helped to bring about the Child Find interstate law/s. You can still see some of the anger in him (no wonder) yet he’s made his peace with it and uses it positively. A life lesson here.

    We are, after all, thoughts and emotions. Both can serve us tremendously.

    What do you think?

    Regards,

    Alana

    1. Hello Alana,

      Anger is a big subject to discuss, and one that most everyone is familiar with.

      It is very true that from the day we first express anger we are told that it is “bad” and that we should not really use it. Or at least not use it in some manners of the sense. It could very well be a primitive instinct in which the male gender has more than female, but we must remember that women have just as many issues with expressing anger appropriately as men do, so I believe that it is a trait in which has just been evolved into our genetics and not specifically to one gender.

      You said in your fourth paragraph at the end “What we resist, persists.” This can be a very true statement, but not resisting anger will also allow it to persist. Allowing anger to take over, whether in a healthy manner or unhealthy manner can become a persisting habit. Granted allowing the healthy form would be better, but it is still a persisting factor that may not be needed.

      Now your friend, Edith, asks a very interesting question, and I’m sure she gets some very interesting answers. I would think that anger has every rite to come from the past to make itself known today in the present. Anger is one of those emotions in which can recur until we finally deal with what has caused the anger. The problem may have happened 15 years ago, but we can still address the issue and take care of the anger.

      I have never watched America’s Most Wanted and do not know who John Walsh is, but it seems that he has found more than a healthy way of expressing his anger, he has found a way of bringing those who are criminal to justice out of his anger. This is more than just an effective way of channelling anger, but helping those who are affected by these people by allowing them to know that they are behind bars. That takes more than just practice of channelling anger, that is a flat out skill in which he has perfected.

      We are not only thoughts and emotions, we are humans that must learn from what we are, from out own thoughts and our own emotions. Learning is the most important concept about or thoughts and feelings that will eventually help us tremendously.

      Cheers

      Emmy

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