“Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it,” goes the old cliché.
But what about the “weather” in relationships…and inside our own heads?
Today, it feels like temperature levels are rising in human hearts and minds, in attitudes and interactions. There’s a lot of anger in the air—and we can find ourselves being affected.
Gerard I. Nierenberg, American lawyer and expert on negotiation, believes this is a kind of “climate change” we can all do something about. He wrote:
“Don’t let them push your button.” The one trying to get you angry wants to control you. If you meet a negative approach positively, you are not letting the climate get out of your hands.
I like the idea that I can choose the climate I want to help create in a relationship or group. I can use patience, kindness, humor to help lower the temperature.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Anger can be difficult to control. So here are two thoughts that can help:
First, The Twenty-four-hour Rule: Sydney Smith, the 19thcentury English writer and cleric wrote:
We are told “Let not the sun go down on your wrath,” but I would add, never act or write till it has done so. This rule has saved me from many an act of folly. It is wonderful what a different view we take of the same event four-and-twenty hours after it has happened.
Very true. The thing that feels huge right now might very well appear trivial by this time tomorrow. I might find myself thinking, “What was I so upset about?”
Second, The Last-day Rule: Famed 18thcentury English scholar Samuel Johnson wrote:
Life is but short…Let us not throw away any of our days upon useless resentment or contend who shall hold out longest…It is best not to be angry; and best, in the next place, to be quickly reconciled.
Ask yourself: If today was my last day…would I really want to fight over this?
You can count on this: the things that will matter to you on your last day are the things that really matter today.