Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls: The Vicious Cycle of Anger

Relationships are incredibly fulfilling, but so hard at times. Most of us know what being our best self looks like when it comes to conflict. We know we ought to forgive, let go of grudges, fight the negative thoughts that come with anger, and keep a calm, virtuous and kind disposition in the face of turmoil. So, why do we sometimes fail at being out best when we get upset?

Our feelings might be to blame! As helpful as feeling can be at telling us what we need, they can also misguide us. Our anger can hijack our behaviors and our thoughts leaving us choosing to dig in instead of dig out. Be careful when you are angry. Don’t allow yourself to follow all the negative thoughts that come to mind about the person who just angered you. Don’t go down the path of drawing up all their recent slip-ups, and don’t conveniently forget their positive qualities. This path leads to one thing, distance from someone you love. The distance makes staying angry easy! Staying angry creates more distance. Now we are part of a vicious cycle that robs us of peace and wellbeing.

How do we get out of that? When you feel righteous about an initial upset, try not to follow your angry thoughts without awareness of where you are headed. Otherwise, we end up becoming someone we probably don’t even like. Catch your thoughts and ask God to give you His lens for seeing the situation with empathy and understanding, His eyes for the beauty that still does exist, His mercy for forgiveness and His arms for love to be extended.

In this way, we choose to maintain our peace by remaining our best.

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26

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