2 stories in The Star caught my eyes yesterday – titled “Writer’s car stolen after she ignored cop’s advice” and “Daughter’s suitor kills taxi driver dad”.
Both paid their price – the girl’s car was indeed stolen (serve her right!) and the guy is likely to be charged with murder (or be jailed for a long time).
I must admit that I do not have the full story of what had happened – for example why the lady refused to allow policeman to enter the house and refuses to follow the police’s advice (maybe she had more important “work” to do with her boyfriend in the house…ahem!) but one look at the stories, one can clearly see both did not stop for a moment and think carefully on what their next course of action will be.
I must admit again that I too been in situation where I have acted without thinking. Emotions had run high and I have acted rather stupidly on emotions alone. Luckily for me, it had not resulted (yet) in things that I would have regretted for the rest of my life. I must thank God for that. Simple things like you get pissed off when a car cuts in front of you without notice. For me, I have (one or two occasions only) chased the said car, to show my finger or looking for trouble with the driver (with one hand on the steering wheel lock of course..ha ha).
Things have changed somewhat as I grow older (and wiser). I am learning to take a “step back” to assess the situation and move in with a solution or steps to defuse the tense situation. Learning to hear to others, assessing the situation and understanding the impact is great too. If the lady had for a moment, stopped and listened to the police, she could have prevented the theft of her car. If the guy had taken a step back and assessed the situation, he would not come to the fatal outcome.
I don’t think there are any strategies to avoid being stupid but American Psychological Association has strategies to keep anger at bay. I summarised it here but more details at their website:-
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings.
2. Cognitive Restructuring
Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything that it won’t make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse).
3. Problem Solving
Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.
4. Better Communication
Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you’re in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don’t say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.
5. Using Humor
“Silly humor” can help defuse rage in a number of ways.
6. Changing Your Environment
Sometimes it’s our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some “personal time” scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.
Being stupid or angry at certain times is excusable, after all we are just humans but being stupid or angry all the time is definitely is not an excuse.
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