When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Behaving Badly

"Speak when you are angry,
and you'll make the best speach you'll ever regret!" 
Dr. Laurence Peters

Today was not a good day!
I had a customer this morning who was very angry with me.  To start with, they called on the phone and wanted personal information.  I can not give that information over the phone.  It has to do with privacy laws and it is something that is just not done.  She got angry on the phone and started yelling at me and telling me how rude I was.  Then she came into the office.  It just escalated from there.  She would not let me say why I couldn't tell her.  She would not let me explain.  She just proceeded to tell me how I obvously don't like my job, I have no business being in customer service, and I must be a truly miserable person. 
This has bothered me all day.  I love my job.  I love being in customer service, and I don't think I am miserable (at least, not most of the time). 
In thinking about this today, I can't help but wonder how many times does my own personal state of mind, my own attitude, impact how I approach others and what I say to them (especially when they might be telling me something that I don't want to hear). 
I believe that getting angry is one of Satan's most effective tools.  It is a cunning part of his strategy to dissociate anger from free agency.  He works at making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control. We often hear, “I lost my temper.” To “lose something” implies “not meaning to,” “accidental,” “not responsible”, we might be careless perhaps, but “not responsible.”

“He made me mad,” is another phrase we hear, also implying lack of control or agency. This implies that someone else is accountable for your feelings.  No one "makes us" mad. No one "makes us" angry. There is no force involved.  Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision.  By virtue of the fact it IS a choice, we can also make the choice not to become angry. We get to choose!
To those who say, “But I can’t help myself,” there was an article in Reader Digest by author William Wilbanks.  He responds: “Nonsense.  Aggression, … suppressing the anger, talking about it, screaming and yelling, are all learned strategies in dealing with anger.  We choose the one that has proved effective for us in the past. Ever notice how seldom we lose control when frustrated by our boss, but how often we do when annoyed by friends or family?” (“The New Obscenity,” Reader’s Digest, Dec. 1988, 24).  Mr. Wilbanks then went on to tell the story about when he was in his sophomore year, he tried out for the high school basketball team and made it. On the first day of practice his coach had him play one-on-one while the team observed. When he missed an easy shot, he became angry and stomped and whined. The coach walked over to him and said, “You pull a stunt like that again and you’ll never play for my team."  For the next three years he never lost control again. Years later, as he reflected back on this incident, he realized that the coach had taught him a life-changing principle that day: anger can be controlled.

By this short true-story, we learn that we really are dealing with learned behavior, either our own or someone elses.  Anger is simply yielding to Satan’s influence by surrendering our self-control. It is the direct cause of road rage on the freeway, flare-ups in the sports arena, and violence in our communities and our homes.
Unchecked, anger can quickly injure tender hearts and feelings.  In our last stake conference, I heard a reference to one of or past Prophets, President David O. McKay.  He spoke on this subject and once said,

“Let husband and wife never speak in loud tones to each other, ‘unless the house is on fire’” (Stepping Stones to an Abundant Life, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay [1971], 294).
I love that phrase!  I wish I could say that I have never raised my voice in my home.  I am working on it though.  It matters to me how I sound to those that I love the most!  I can control many things.  But I cannot control someone else's perceptions.  I can't control their happiness, or their misery, I can't control whether other's like me or not.  I can't control how they perceive my phone messages, or what they say to my employees.  The only thing I can control are those things that I am directly responsible for.  I can control my own tone of voice (although I can't control what anyone else "thinks" they heard).  I can control my own response.  I can control the fact that I am angry.  We can choose not to become angry. And we can make that choice today, right now.  I can let go of the anger and move on. 

"Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame." 
Benjamin Franklin


  1. Oh my! That picture is truly horrific. Which reminds me, have you ever seen a picture of yourself mad? Somehow, somewhere, someone took a photo of me and I couldn't believe how awful I look mad. Trust me, it was very motivating. Just the thought of watching my life in instant reply and seeing me act like that is enough to help me calm it down...

  2. That lady sounds like she has some serious issues. And it is so frustrating when you don't get a chance to explain. Hope this is a rarity and not the norm.

  3. Completely agree with you. Someone told me once that anger is a secondary emotional response. It is preceeded by one of two primary sources. Love or Fear. And ever since then, when I have gotten angry for whatever reason, I've tried to find out if it was because I was afraid of something or because I loved it so much. :)

  4. oh, I feel for you. I hate confrontation, it has an effect on you, and it is hard to stop thinking about it. Time goes by and somehow that helps. And you do realize that you never want to act like that person.

  5. Wow. You're about the nicest person I know.... I can't imagine someone yelling at you like that! They obviously were not having a good day. I remember when my counselor told me my husband couldn't make me mad. I was like, oh yeah? Have you BEEN to my house?? And then he was explaining how anger isn't a primary emotion, that it's always based on something else: fear, disappointment, hurt, sadness, etc.
    Great post!

  6. Great post! And I couldnt' believe it when, referring to Satan, you said... "It is a cunning part of his strategy to dissociate anger from free agency."

    I JUST read that from an Ensign article dated May 1998, by Lynn D Robbins. The opening of his article states, "A cunning part of Satan's strategy is to dissociate anger from agancy, making us believe that we are cictims on an emotion that we cannot control."

    Amen Sista!

    I think everybody should read this. If we let the message sink deep into our hearts and minds, we would all take more (hopefully complete) accountability for ALL of our actions - BEHAVE a LOT BETTER, and BE A LOT HAPPIER.

    PS In case you are interested... here is the link to the article I recently read:


    Enjoy your Sabbath! :D
    Corine :D

  7. WOW this is a fantastic post, thank you!! It definitely puts things into perspective doesn't it? I would love to share this with my readers on my blog if that is OK with you.. I would give you credit of course and a link back to your blog :)
    I think everybody needs to read this!
    would you email me at claytonandangie@gmail.com if you are interested? thanks!