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The Worst Side of Our Selective Anger

Anger, as any other emotions, is natural. It’s both human and understandable to get angry when someone did something that touched your nerves. We all get angry.

So don’t feel bad when those who have angered you try to blame you for being angry. Actually, it is they who are to blame for being so sadistic.

What’s not natural, though, is the reactions you display after having been angered. Are you becoming mad and yelling to your maximum level? Are you holding back, composed and choose your steps? Are you crying in silence, wetting your pillows, and then put a fake smile as nothing happened? Or do you take it verbally and physically on those angered you?

Sometimes in life, we have somehow reacted using any of the above or even beyond them. I, too, get angry. And many a time, I react too.

But whatever the reaction, it is direct or indirect results of our societal make-ups on how we were raised to respond to the external factors that make us angry. Therefore, our reactions are artificial. In other words, we make our own pulses on the way we react to those things or people who go beyond our nerves.

It’s for this reason that, you may find, different people react differently towards one certain stimulus. I remember in school days, for example, when corporal punishment was used to the whole class of 30 to 40 pupils. There were those who would act tough. They would never show any sign of anger when whipped. But there were those who would start crying even when they were not touched. Others would jump. Others would curse. Others would fight back, too. We were all in the same class. But everyone had his own taste of showing their anger.

Yet, it goes deeper than that. Sometimes, a single individual (not two or three) might display different ways of reactions towards a certain scenario. Say, for example, your mobile phone is stolen in the street. Once. Twice. Thrice. The first was a Nokia C70. Then Samsung Galaxy S7. Then it’s an iPhone 7. In each situation, you might have reacted differently. Your choice of reaction was affected by many things: the value of your phone, the time it was stolen, and many other things.

That said, there is a clear point I want to make here. Anger is natural. True. Reactions are artificial. Also true. But there are values – human values – that guide these artificial makings of ours. These are supposed to be universal.

Yes, you don’t expect an American president to get angry when a citizen of another country has been kidnapped or killed, but – as a human being – you expect him to show some concerns when he is represented with the situation. When he doesn’t, even though there’s no law that wants him to, you tend to believe there’s something inhuman with him.

This consideration of human values puts our tendency of selective anger in test. Very difficult test. Yes, we have the freedom to choose how to react on anything that comes to us. Yes, there is no law that forces us to show any reaction at all. But we do also have responsibility to act in accordance with the societal norms and customs.

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