Don’t Let Your Anger Consume You

Life is a tremendous gift; we must not waste our time being angry.
February 28, 2024
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I was standing in my kitchen, out of breath, my heart beating a million miles a minute. I had just punched the wall. My husband Daniel, who was next to me, was stunned. 

“You need to get help for your anger,” he told me. 

I thought, “Why?”

I had so much I deserved to be angry about.

I had a rough childhood. I was broke. And New York City, where I lived at the time, was just so stressful. 

But after seeing Daniel’s reaction – and taking a moment to calm down – I realized that I needed to change. I thought these outbursts were healthy, that they released something and were good for me. But really, they were just temporary relief, and I wasn’t addressing the root of the problem: my anger itself.

I started learning about the Torah’s stance on anger. It is one of the traits the Torah fervently condemns, stating, “Someone who gets angry is like one who worships idols.” 

Anger comes from an overinflated ego, from constantly victimizing oneself instead of figuring out a positive way to react to all of life’s challenges. Yes, it’s easier and more comfortable to be the perpetual victim, but as Jews, we need to strive for a more elevated way of living. Our anger gets in the way of our ability to be b’simcha, to live with joy, and cuts off our connection to Hashem. 

There is so much to be angry about right now. In our darkest moment, Oct. 7, the world seemingly turned on us and blamed us for the attack. 

It’s OK that Israelis were raped, kidnapped and murdered, because they deserved it, is the narrative among antisemites. Our hostages are still not home, the U.S. is proposing a two-state solution – which would effectively reward Hamas for murdering Jews – and terrorist attacks are still happening in Israel. Jews are being silenced on social media, the pro-Hamas crowd has been taking over college campuses and city streets and so many politicians won’t lift a finger to do anything about it. 

Doesn’t it just make you want to scream? Over the past few months, there have been many times I’ve certainly felt like punching a wall.

But it won’t help. 

I spend a lot of time on social media talking about Judaism and Israel, and I see a lot of angry posts and comments. 

I turn on the TV to watch the news, and the anchors are red in the face, yelling at those they oppose.

I see road rage on the highway and videos of people punching each other and flipping out in the grocery store line.

It’s all so exhausting, and not conducive to any sort of progress. 

If you feel the anger coming on, don’t give into it. Instead, be proactive about fighting it.

The number one way I became less angry was by strengthening my connection to Hashem by learning Torah and relying on prayer in my times of need. 

I now view myself as a victor instead of a victim, and I make sure to take frequent breaks from social media and other things that could stir up my anger. Instead, I partake in activities that replenish my soul. This means spending time with my family and friends, going to shul, taking a walk, watching a feel-good movie and petting my dogs. 

I urge you to go above the anger and tap into positivity instead. 

If you’re having trouble making big changes, start with small ones. Wake up every morning and say the prayer Modeh Ani, starting your day with gratitude and a good attitude. Once you begin doing this, you’ll realize there is so much more in life to be happy than angry about. 

Life is a tremendous gift; we must not waste our time being angry. By overcoming your anger, you can feel better, be much more productive and, of course, strengthen your relationship with Hashem, the Ultimate Source of comfort and joy. 

Now that’s something to be happy about.

How do you deal with anger? Email me: Kylieol@JewishJournal.com.

Kylie Ora Lobell is the Community Editor of the Jewish Journal.

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