Anger can be either destructive or constructive, depending on whether it is at or for something. Anger at is destructive and serves no useful purpose. It is the emotion we express toward drivers who cut us off, for example. This type of anger robs one of vital energy and can become addictive.
Anger at is consuming. Like a wildfire with more and more forest to decimate, it continually replenishes its force, rarely burning itself out. If it is not dissolved, it simmers down, laying in wait for yet another reason to control your mind and have one blow up at a mere trifle.
Anger for, on the other hand, is a positive force that many highly successful people use to significant advantage, directing it rather than letting it consume them. Anger for is the type of anger we have about injustice, poverty, health, or racial inequities—phenomena beyond our control that limit people from expressing their full potential. It makes us want to change the way things are.
Anger for the improvement of life often provides the passion that fuels success, like the fire that heats the water for running a steam engine.
Mahatma Gandhi, feeling anger for the British injustices toward the people of India, once said, “I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson: to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled [focused] can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.”
One should question whether one is angry at or angry for. When unsure, look for physical clues: anger at feels like the body is tensing up and can’t breathe freely, whereas anger for feels more like one is being propelled. Once the type of anger is identified, recognise that anger at someone must be let go and anger for an injustice must be expressed, then take the appropriate measures.
An average person’s anger is 95% anger at. And so, to eliminate the majority of this in a few weeks with the proper understanding is actually quite reasonable. In time, one can eliminate it entirely. But first one must know its source and then how to disarm it.
Forget everything one knows, anything one has read or learnt, and read with an open mind that sincerely wants to eliminate anger from one’s life.