Anger is a powerful emotion that can often alert us to danger and move us to action. Anger can also cloud our judgment and lead to regrettable actions. Throughout history, many wise individuals have shared their thoughts and insights on this intense feeling.

When I am angry, three things are true: 1) There’s something I’m wanting I’m not getting. 2) I’m telling myself that someone ought to be giving it to me. 3) I’m about to speak or behave in a way that will virtually assure that I won’t get what I want, or, at least assure that even if I get it, it will not be given the way I really want.

— Alex Censor, paraphrasing Marshall Rosenberg

Anger is not a sustainable emotion in and of itself. It has to be transformed into a deep love for the possibility of who we can be.

— Alicia Garza

We all seem to be affected by desire, anger, fear, sorrow, worry, hunger, and labour; how do we have caste differences then?

— Amartya Sen

My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.

— Audre Lorde

Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.

— Baruch Spinoza

Let others know when they have hurt or angered you. By not speaking up when someone insults or mistreats you, you are inadvertently giving permission for him or her to continue to treat you in the same way in the future.

— Beverly Engel, The Nice Girl Syndrome

From attachment comes desire and from desire, anger. From anger comes bewilderment, which brings about loss of memory. From loss of memory comes the destruction of intelligence and from the destruction of intelligence one perishes.

— Bhagavad Gita

Resentment is the feeling of frustration, judgment, anger, “better than,” and/or hidden envy related to perceived unfairness or injustice. It’s an emotion that we often experience when we fail to set boundaries or ask for what we need, or when expectations let us down because they were based on things we can’t control, like what other people think, what they feel, or how they’re going to react.

— Brené Brown

By doing this [being angry] you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink.

— Buddhaghosa, Visuddhimagga

Choose
The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open hand held out and waiting.
Choose:
For we meet by one or the other.

— Carl Sandburg

Revenge and retaliation always perpetuate the cycle of anger, fear and violence.

— Coretta Scott King

The only justice is to follow the sincere intuition of the soul, angry or gentle. Anger is just, and pity is just, but judgement is never just.

— D. H. Lawrence

A little anger is a good thing if it isn’t on your own behalf, if it’s for others deserving of your anger, your empathy.

— David Simon

Conquer anger by love.

— Dhammapada

When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.

— Epictetus

Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions.

— G. K. Chesterton

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.

— Henri Nouwen

Extremism thrives amid ignorance and anger, intimidation and cowardice.

— Hillary Clinton

I am a person who is unhappy with things as they stand. We cannot accept the world as it is. Each day we should wake up foaming at the mouth because of the injustice of things.

— Hugo Claus

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

— James Thurber

Angry people are not always wise.

— Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The Buddha compared holding onto anger to grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You, of course, are the one who gets burned.

— Joan Borysenko, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

It is hard to believe we feel pain for the world if we assume we’re separate from it. The individualistic bias of Western culture supports that assumption. Feelings of fear, anger or despair about the world tend to be interpreted in terms of personal pathology. Our distress over the state of the world is seen as stemming from some neurosis, rooted perhaps in early trauma or unresolved issues with a parental figure that we’re projecting on society at large. Thus we are tempted to discredit feelings that arise from solidarity with our fellow-beings.

— Joanna Macy

One can’t be angry when one looks at a penguin.

— John Ruskin

Because men have a history, it is difficult for them to imagine what it is like to grow up without one, or the sense of personal expansion that comes from discovering that we women have a worthy heritage. Along with pride often comes rage – rage that one has been deprived of such a significant knowledge.

— Judy Chicago

Parents, choose your words wisely, carefully, thoughtfully. In the same way that violence begets violence and anger begets anger, kindness begets kindness and peace begets peace. Sow words of peace, words that build, words that show respect and belief and support.

— L.R. Knost, Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.

— Lee Iacocca

My father was often angry when I was most like him.

— Lillian Hellman

When you forgive, you heal your own anger and hurt and are able to let love lead again. It’s like spring cleaning for your heart.

— Marci Shimoff

Every criticism, judgment, diagnosis, and expression of anger is the tragic expression of an unmet need.

— Marshall Rosenberg

Kindness eases change.
Love quiets fear.
And a sweet and powerful
Positive obsession
Blunts pain,
Diverts rage,
And engages each of us
In the greatest,
The most intense
Of our chosen struggles.

— Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

— Orson Welles

Mobbery is a process that centers on anger, energy, and power—it is the aggregation of personal anger into a collective anger that develops a power far beyond that of individuals. Mobbery entails using the energy of anger to find people who are angry about the same things you’re angry about, then together harnessing this anger in ways that place blame on others. By taking no responsibility for soothing one’s own anger and projecting blame collectively onto groups identified as “other,” a new shared reality is created and allowed to harden. The more that angry people gather and strengthen one another, the more their sense of power intensifies. Those identified as others are vilified and attacked, and this is repeated over and over again. This dynamic builds momentum while demonstrating how the power of anger can be exerted on others and how such acts can be interpreted as victories.

— Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Casting Indra’s Net: Fostering Spiritual Kinship and Community

Today you have a choice. You can choose between anger and love, division and unity, frustration and hope, selfishness and giving, turning away and showing up. Choose kindness and the choice is simple. It’s hard to regret being kind.

— Rachel Marie Martin

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.

— Rumi

If we fall, we don’t need self-recrimination or blame or anger — we need a reawakening of our intention and a willingness to re-commit, to be whole-hearted once again.

— Sharon Salzberg

I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.

— Simone de Beauvoir

According to a research by Wharton School, New York Times articles which inspires the most anger in readers get a significant boost in page views.

— Simone Puorto

Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace, it has little meaning. First, our individual self must learn peace. This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

This is a very important practice. Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.

— Thomas a Kempis

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.

— Thomas Aquinas

In that inevitable, excruciatingly human moment, we are offered a powerful choice. This choice is perhaps one of the most vitally important choices we will ever make, and it determines the course of our lives from that moment forward. The choice is this: Will we interpret this loss as so unjust, unfair, and devastating that we feel punished, angry, forever and fatally wounded– or, as our heart, torn apart, bleeds its anguish of sheer, wordless grief, will we somehow feel this loss as an opportunity to become more tender, more open, more passionately alive, more grateful for what remains?

— Wayne Muller

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.

— Will Rogers

Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.

— Zora Neale Hurston
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