Recently I read this book Getting Control of Your Anger by Robert Allan. I was touched by an example where the author narrates the sage-and-the-snake tale. As you may know, there was this snake that lay on a village path leading to the temple and bit people passing by. A saint advised the snake that it was wrong to bite people, and the snake obeyed. Finding the snake passive, the village boys dragged it and stoned it.
While passing by that way again, the saint found the snake bleeding. The snake blurted out how it had been abused ever since it had promised not to bite. “I told you not to bite,” said the saint, “but I did not tell not to hiss.”
Knowing the difference between a ‘hiss’ and a ‘bite’ might be the best starting point in managing anger effectively, writes Allan. Good anger management is “the challenge of learning when, how, and under what circumstances to effectively ‘hiss’ — that is, to stand firm and issue a warning that certain behaviour is unacceptable.”
A hiss might include a clear statement of what the consequences will be if the unacceptable behaviour continues. This tactic is very different from lashing out with an aggressive bite, explains the author. “A hiss is a warning sign; it says, ‘watch out, pay attention!’ whereas a bite is any action intended to inflict pain.”
He quotes Aristotle thus: “Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not easy.”
There are a few more examples explaining different scenarios. This book is a must to have in ones library.
Clicked on my Canon EOS 1000D. (Specifications on request)