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. But It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”
As I read this, I am reminded of the nails that I have driven and the things I have said in anger. Realizing that everything thing I say has the potential to leave a hole in someone makes me feel sad, but also gives me a stronger desire to pay attention to how I feel and how I respond in these situations.
In what ways have you found success in controlling how you respond when you are angry?
2 thoughts on “What happens when we say things in Anger?”
I like it Travis. I’m just as guilty as anyone when it comes to losing my temper. I continue to work on this aspect of my life by stopping myself, performing deep-breathing exercises and then thinking about what I’m going to say. The interesting part of this is that no matter what I say or how much I may hurt someone with my words, I always suffer more because of the shame I feel. What we need to realize is exactly what this story teaches us – we can say we’re sorry, but the damage is already done.
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It is so true that we suffer more from the things we say in anger. In the moment we don’t realize the damage we are doing. taking a moment to think about what I am really feeling and what I really want to say before saying it usually results in me saying something different. thanks for the insight!