Thursday, November 5, 2009

Outrage and Timing

“To be angry is easy. But to be angry at the right men, and at the right time, and for the right reason…This is difficult.” – Armand Assante, The Odyssey.

A conversation with Sistah’ Girl the other day reminded me that everything in life has (and needs) a certain amount of timing to it. For example, you can’t rush baking bread. The bread will blacken on the outside and not cook completely through if you crank up the head the try to rush it. Life is much the same way. You can’t force a plant to grow any faster than it’s intended speed. You can provide it tools and nutrients to help it along, but that’s about all you can do. The plant will do what it’s going to do. The maturing of people isn’t so different – I think.

I’ve learned in my life that sometimes, with emotions, timing is everything as well.

For example, I’ve known many couples who got engaged about 6 months into dating. While my old fashioned self feels that’s awefully fast, I also recognize that there is a window of time when both people are madly in love and ready to commit their lives to one another – and if that window passes with no action taken, it can often lead to uncertainty about the relationship, rather than a “We’re committed to one another. Let’s work through this,” mentality that can often come w/ those who deeply value to commitment of marriage. Sometimes that “window” comes early on. Sometimes it doesn’t come for years.

Another great example is in conflict.
Whenever we’re involved in conflict, we have the choice on how to react to the anger we’re confronted by.
If we’re confronted with someone’s anger, and we’ve legitimately wronged them – a sincere apology at that point can quickly put out the flames.
But if that apology is prolonged in coming, it risks damaging the relationship beyond repair and/or escalating.

I’m not one to get angry easily. If I can let it slide or explain it away, I will (sometimes, admittedly, even to my detriment). My timing with an apology when I’ve wronged someone is as quickly (and sincerely) as possible – and always includes making amends. Very rarely does my anger when wronged escalate to outrage.

I’ve always liked that quote by Aristotle (which was paraphrased by Armand Assante in one of my all-time-favorite mini series). It’s all about emotions, and timing in expressing them.

As they say, sometimes “Timing is everything”.

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