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Monday, 10 March 2014

Anger and Shouting

If you've never been shouted at, you may not know the feeling of being shouted at. But if you ever observe an outburst of anger, perhaps you can imagine how it feels like to be on the receiving end.

."You are useless! Good for nothing!"
"You ungrateful _rse. You are nothing more than a piece of sh_t!"
"Go to h_ll!"

When people shout at us, it is natural to want to shout back. The other natural reaction is to want to run away. Nobody likes to stay in a spot and get shouted at, continuously. Unless, of course, that shouting seems to be warranted. But even then, there are better ways to make a point than to shout and belittle others. After all, everybody makes mistakes, and they need to be told how to do things right, in the right way. Wouldn't it be counterproductive if a superior uses a wrong method of teaching (shouting) to teach the right method of doing something?

Why do people shout at each other? Some shout because they are angry, and others because they are alarmed. Yet others shout simply for the power it produces. Once they shout, the whole attitude of the person that they are talking to changes. The person may be startled, frightened, and he may give in to demands. In restaurants and airports, where continuous shouting can lead to a loss of face, it is a quick way to get the enemy to give in.

But when people shout too often, other people get used to the shouting. "Ah, that's the way he does things," one might remark. "He's like that -- Ignore him." The shouter is viewed as unreasonable, and sometimes a bully.

When a person is genuinely angry, he is trying to get something but is being frustrated. This person may cool down if he gets what he wants. When a person feigns anger, he may be trying to manipulate the situation, because he could not get what he wants, otherwise. The first person may get sympathy from a neutral onlooker. The second person will be despised.

So let's look at the genuine cases. Wouldn't it be easier to ask, rather than to shout? Why should somebody give us something when we are abusing them? While shouting, too, it is possible that someone will record a video or take a photo and upload it to the world. In the heat of the moment, it may not seem like anything, but eventually, you will learn about it and you will feel ashamed. In genuine cases, you can shout, but be sure that it is justified. If you've been denied a place in university despite scoring top marks in high school, shout. If you got married but your spouse has an affair, shout. If you tried your best but your boss takes the credit, shout. If your kid got kidnapped, shout. As long as there is a justification, your shout means something, even though that meaning may not be apparent immediately.

But at times, keeping a level head is more productive. People respond to those with level heads, although these days it is increasingly difficult to keep a level head. We have to be calm, and try not to excite the other party. Are there ways of calming other people down? Yes, there are. Be objective, treat the matter as a disinterested third party would. Be civil. Use logic, not fists. Respect him or her, do not insult him or her. If a third party can help to resolve the issue, why not seek a third person to listen to both views? Act in such a way that you will not feel ashamed after the incident is over.

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