Temper and How Do You Temper It?

What do we have in common that many of us are always losing? Few people have been able to keep this in hand forever. At one time or the other, we have all lost this, probably more than once. And losing this is always detrimental to the people around us and our own sense of being. What is this elusive object that we seem to misplace so easily? Our temper.

The stress of life and the problems facing us, contribute to this loss, however, we don’t have to let it’s loss control our lives.

Although there can be occasions of justifiable anger, I, personally, have not been victim of too many episodes of that nature.

Temper is a spur of the moment reaction to something against your wishes. It is usually a self-centered response because your space has been invaded.

An outburst of temper alleviates your stress for only a minute. Bitterness soon takes its place as you resolve to hold your ground because you are right and the recipient of your wrath is wrong. How can you easily forgive someone who is in opposition to your feelings or ideas? A loss of temper, instead of making a point, poisons the one who lost it. Many times, the temper is evoked because you don’t want to admit wrong, guilt, or even stupidity.

“Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of nature.” Orson Welles

There is a moment of justification in your mind when you have ‘set someone in their place’ but when you lose your temper, you lose a bit of your own worth. People won’t respect your ire. They will avoid your company.

Some people say their temper isn’t really temper, but their ability to speak their mind. If speaking your mind hurts, embarrasses, or alienates another person, we are talking temper not virtue. Guidance by your words or actions is entirely different from getting your way with an onslaught of temper. Loud noises cause us to close our ears while a whisper draws our attention.

Losing your temper is a selfish event. You get to vent. You get to shout. You get to let people know that you are not happy. You get that minute’s worth of enjoyment at seeing another person suffer. Are there any long-term benefits to your tantrums?

“Never do anything when you are in a temper, for you will do everything wrong.” Baltasar Gracian

Someone apologized to me once after giving in to a massive tirade that lasted twenty minutes as I stood there in shock. Her later explanation for the behavior? She was having a bad day and whatever I had said, set her off. She went on to say that she was always apologizing for her temper as if it was a virtue. She is on the way to being alone with her ‘virtue’. Better to have held your temper in the first place than trying to justify it.

A quick look in the dictionary gives an interesting view on temper. One meaning of the word is “Proneness to anger” and the other one is “To exercise control over”.
As we enter into the Advent Season and start our approach to the stable at Bethlehem, what form of temper will we use on our journey?

Barbara M. Barthelette

“REMEMBER –For every minute you are angry with someone, you lose 60 seconds of happiness that you can never get back.” Will Rogers

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