Get Angry Next Week

Or better yet, do it in a fortnight.

This is by far the best plan for anger. When you have encountered some setback or insult and your blood is boiling, make a plan to get angry about it in one or two weeks. By all means write down your grievance now so that you don’t forget it, but compel your mind to forget it until the set period of time has elapsed. This requires self-discipline, and you must keep silent about it during the intervening time.

If this seems counter to what your other psychological advisers tell you, consider the following:

a. Being red-hot with anger makes you look bad, feel bad, and think badly. You say and do things that make the situation worse and then react to that. You can find yourself becoming your own chain reaction, and not in a good way.

b. Good revenge, effective resentment, and proper justice takes time to mature. Like a fruitcake, it needs to sit and let the flavours meld. The more time you wait, the better the taste. Be a fruitcake.

c. Real judgement of a situation can sometimes only come with several day’s consideration. You have time to weigh up possibilities and consequences. No-one cuts off their nose to spite their face after two weeks.

d. In many cases the cause for distress vanishes in a day or so and the need for resentment, revenge, or justice evaporates. This means that you do not have to risk further trouble fiddling with the old stuff.

e. Sometimes people realise their bad behaviour and repent of it themselves in that fortnight. If they come to you and apologise it is a perfect opportunity to form a friendship – with the knowledge that the other person is, at heart, decent.

f. If you must have revenge, the fortnight pause in your resentment may mean that the victim has forgotten the original offence and will be unsuspecting. The Dalai Lama would not recommend this sort of thinking, though…

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