More often than not, getting angry serves no purpose

One of my yoga teacher once told us in class, than when we get angry, our body releases a chemical that is only effective a few seconds. If we remain angry, it’s because we feed that hunger and go back to fetch more chemicals.

Photo by Josn Jannsen

Photo by Josn Jannsen

These words were spoken many years ago and I never bothered to look up the exact chemistry of this process, but I’m a firm believer that our bodies are smart and wouldn’t just keep us angry for nothing.

Yesterday afternoon, while enjoying a leisurely bike ride, my husband got hit by an SUV. Luckily the driver wasn’t going fast and no one was injured. The bike took a hit of course, and my husband was swearing like a sailor when he landed, but chose to remain calm. The driver stopped, exited the car and proceeded to apologize profusely. The event was followed by email exchanges which again revealed more apologies.

Late last year, my mother and father were waiting at an intersection and once again, a driver failed to pay attention to her surroundings, and knocked my mother down as she was crossing the road. She immediately stopped, exited and proceeded to apologize and was clearly mortified by what she had done. My mother was rushed to the hospital and, luckily, discharged immediately since only minor bruising was found. She could have been angry and pressed charges, but decided against it. She was even quite concerned about the driver and informed the police officer on the scene to let the driver know that she was ok.

Could the incident have been prevented? Probably. There’s no doubt that both drivers were at fault and distracted, but getting angry and “making them pay” wouldn’t have changed anything. As I grow older and hopefully wiser, I’m convinced that anger is simply a waste of time. Being kind, forgiving and understanding, even in the worse situations is a far better choice.

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3 thoughts on “More often than not, getting angry serves no purpose

  1. Well said Christine.

    A little while back I got hit by a car riding my bike through a round-about on a quiet Kitsilano street. Luckily with quick reactions I was able to avoid significant damage to my body. My bike was done and my helmet ended up saving my life. To his credit the driver was very shocked and apologetic and co-operated with me and ICBC fully. Like your husband I felt there was no need to get angry. The accident had happened, I saw the driver felt bad about the situation, I got a new bike and I learned to be even more defensive with drivers.

  2. This is a rich reflection on what happened to your husband – thank you for sharing.

    I often think of Margaret Wheatley who asks herself in those moments “Am I adding to the violence in the world?” (violence including things like harsh words), knowing that adding to the violence isn’t going to create the kind of world we want to live in and leave for our children.

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