When something annoys you, you can choose how to respond. You can mend it, or tidy it, or jiggle it, or avoid it. You can throw it, or kick it, or knock it aside. Maybe you break it and don’t care. Maybe you’ll never know whether you broke it or not. Maybe you’ll never know WHAT you broke.

Is it unrealistic to nurture gentleness and restraint as the appropriate expressions of an angry temper? Sagging doors and bric-a-brac clutter are annoying precisely because they are fragile and need repair. If annoyance with damaged things inspires you to roughness or carelessness, you will be a destroyer, not a builder. Of course, “things” don’t really matter: they are just the manifestations of materialism.

But people are even more annoying than things. And people are even more fragile and damaged than antique tea-cups or decrepid buildings. And whatever you practice in one situation, you will reflexively repeat in another. Practice expressing anger by ramping down your response rather than ramping it up. If not for the sake of the people you might destroy, then do so for the sake of the generations for whom you are role-modelling emotional expression.

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