The purpose of anger is to energize us to the degree necessary for us to address a perceived wrong. This is the healthy anger vs. the unhealthy anger that prompts us to respond in ways that are not within our legitimate authority and are designed to harm others. It is in the unhealthy anger that we create more problems for ourselves and others and do not appropriately address the actual wrong.
We have all heard that we need to think before we act, but we rarely are told what to think! I suggest the following:
- Is this worth my energy? Some things just are not. We cannot address all the wrongs in the world. We are far from perfect ourselves and the world is certainly not a perfect place. If it is not worth the energy, let it go and focus on pursuing other worthy goals. If it is worth the energy, go to #2.
- Do I have the legitimate authority to address this? Often we do not. Other times our legitimate authority is limited. If it is not within your legitimate authority, then let the energy go and pursue other worthy goals. If it is, then go to #3.
- What is the best way for me to respond within that legitimate authority? Remember your goal is to address a wrong and sometimes your response will not get the desired result, so do not take responsibility for what is not yours and it is not your responsibility for others to act well, fairly, etc.