Friday, March 14, 2008

Nails in the fence: how anger can harm

I love this story. It illustrates, quite vividly, what happens when we allow anger to rule our lives.

NAILS IN THE FENCE

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. "


What most people don't realize is how harmful anger can be, both to one's own physical, mental and spiritual self, as well as to the recipients of that anger. There are times when anger can appropriately galvanize people into action: our anger about a particular situation (say Darfur, for example), might prompt us to try and do something about the problem, but uncontrolled anger has no place in our lives. If we want a life of peace and harmony. The thing to remember, as with all emotions, is that we might not have control over the onset of anger (annoying things happen) but we do have control over how long we allow those negative feelings to reside within us.

Make a choice to not let anger get the best of you. Acknowledge it and let it go. Communicate.

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