How to control your bad temper?

Bad temper.

All of us have a genetic makeup inherited from our imperfect parents, and thus to some extent determines the kind of temper we have.

Also, our environment and background influence our personality to a large degree.

Should we, then, just shrug off the matter by saying, “I can't help the way I am”?

We will fail at times, since no person can perfectly control his or her temper.

However, there is much that we can do to counteract any unwholesome “temper” that we may have, thus controlling it. What can help us to do this?

Controlling your temper

Whatever the cause of our agitated spirit, there are various things we can think about that will help us to remain calm under stress.

Let us take a look at some suggestions that some have found helpful.

1. Examine yourself

It really does help if we try to analyze our feelings.

We can bring reason to bear on the problem, asking ourselves why we are disturbed.

Often when we do this we find that our “reasons” are quite petty.

Or we may discover within ourselves a motive that we did not realize existed.

The advantage of self-examination is that we then focus on our own share of the problem, which we can do something about, rather than becoming frustrated by focusing solely on the other person’s fault, regarding which we can do little.

Some questions we can ask ourselves are:

"Do I get upset over the habits or shortcomings of others? Or is it because my own background and training differ from theirs? In this latter case, it may be that the problem lies more with us than with the other person. Do I quickly get irritated when something derogatory is said about me, my race or my family? Or is it when I am counseled that I get hurt? If so, could it be that I think a little too highly of myself and am overly sensitive? Does a particular person irritate me? Do I (if an overseer or a parent) become frustrated when counsel is not followed?"

Through such self-examination, we may learn to recognize our own particular weak spot.

Then we are in a better position to fight hard to control it.

2. Take an objective look at the other person

When someone upsets us, we tend to see only his weaknesses.

So it helps if we can see him in his entirety.

Is he or she dedicated to his work?

Overall, is the person showing a good “spirit,” perhaps falling short on just one or two points?

If so, will it not help if we concentrate on his "good" and "lovable" qualities?

Really, would it be fair or proper to judge an individual on the basis of one or two “irritating” traits, as if we deliberately refuse to see any good at all in him?

Why should we want to judge others, since our judgments too often will be influenced by our personal feelings of the moment?

3. Try to see the other person’s point of view

This is not easy to do, especially when his viewpoint may seem diametrically opposed to ours.

Yet the very effort we make in trying to see things his way will often serve to offset our own feelings and have a calming effect.

At least we will be able to understand to some extent how he could feel or act the way he does.

This helps us to avoid the trap of prejudging without really considering both sides.

At first sight it may seem to us that we are 100 percent right and that our brother is wholly in the wrong.

But as we look into things more carefully, we generally find that it is rarely that simple.

Keep working on it

By following the above suggestions we are really working to solve our problem.

We are not adopting a defeatist attitude and saying “I cannot help it.”

The very act of working on the problem will reduce the likelihood of losing control.

It also keeps us conscious of the need to adjust our thinking, especially if we are constantly irritated by others’ failings.

But what if, after applying these suggestions and having some success, we find ourselves seriously agitated on occasion?

First, we should never allow this to cause us to become overly downhearted to the point where we want to give up.

Is this the best way?

But some may ask, ‘Is it not better to “get it out of your system” when you feel irritated?’ That is how many feel.

However, one wife who tried this at breakfast one day to get her husband to hang up his hat admitted after she lost her temper:

"Of course, I hardly ever get really mad, and when I do I am sick two or three days afterward. To tell the truth I felt terrible after that breakfast, and believe it or not my husband still leaves his hat on the table more often than he puts it away.” 

Does this sound as though the venting of anger benefited either this lady or her husband?

Others who lost their temper reported the following effects: “Upset stomach.” “I shake all over, and things sort of blur.” “I really do see red.”

Are these beneficial effects?

But this is not all.

Besides the physical injury, there is also the damage caused to personal relations with others.

Many things said and done in the heat of anger cause deep hurt and are irreparable.

There is no doubt that a person who fails to control his spirit adds fuel to the fire, thus complicating the problem, whereas one who manifests a mild spirit can calm things down.


Yes, the controlling of our temper can be truly beneficial.

Not only do we thus avoid bad effects, but we learn to get along with others.

We also learn to trust others, to have confidence in them.

Is this not much better than constantly harping on their weaknesses?

We find joy in looking for their good qualities and imitating these.

As a result, likely we will find that others are drawn closer to us and we to them.

This certainly results in a more loving atmosphere.