Anger is contagious

Anger spreads like the common cold; keep your mouth covered.

A week or so ago, I was suffering from a minor snit. I was annoyed at somebody for something somehow (yes, it made about that much sense, but that’s another story). I was in the early onset of this particular case of anger; you know, the brewing and stewing stage. I was thinking about how I had been wronged and wondering when the “aggrieving party,” would realize his mistake and come to me with an apology. My anger was in its growth phase.

But I realized something else while in the midst of my pout. As I was waiting for the object of my anger to admit he was wrong, I was also looking around for my wife or some other close confidant with whom I could share my story. I wanted to rant and rave about how this person had offended my precious dignity. I wanted to tell my wife just how patient and long-suffering I’d been and describe in painful detail how I had been pained. If she didn’t agree with me 100%, I was prepared to get mad at her as well. In other words, I wanted to spread my anger to someone else.

Yuck. Why do we do that? What is it about us humans that we are not satisfied with being miserable on our own; we feel that we need to spread the misery to anyone else we can find?

We are human and therefore we are, well, human. We get mad. We get sad. Sometimes the anger or the sadness is justified and sometimes it is not. But just as we are careful and try not to spread diseases to one another, we should try not to spread anger. You wouldn’t sneeze on your brother if you had a cold, so don’t snap at him when you have a snit.

I’m looking at my words, wondering whether I have the strength to heed my own advice. Honestly, (many) times I do not. But perhaps by putting it in writing, it will be just enough of a reminder: when you’re about to bark—cover your mouth.


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