The Daily Stoic

What Do You Look Like Angry?

July 22, 2019 Season 2 Episode 132
The Daily Stoic
What Do You Look Like Angry?
Chapters
The Daily Stoic
What Do You Look Like Angry?
Jul 22, 2019 Season 2 Episode 132
Daily Stoic
Show Notes

Getting angry is not a good look. We know this because we see how ugly other people look when they get mad. How childish they seem. How pathetic their gesticulations look, how badly they seem to need our attention. We see how much it undermines their point too—we see their anger and think, “They are acting this way because it’s the only way they hope to win the argument.” We might even worry about someone’s health when we see their anger, fearing that they might have a heart attack. 

Seneca, referencing a thought from the philosopher Sextius, writes, “it has often been useful to angry people to look in a mirror. The great transformation in themselves has disturbed them; they have no longer recognized themselves, yet how little of their true deformity was displayed in the image reflected in the mirror.”

Spot on. 

Yet, like so many things we are critical of, it’s rare that we apply this gaze back at ourselves. Notice Seneca doesn’t describe how his anger looks in the mirror. In fact, almost nowhere in his essay, Of Anger, does he discuss his own temper and the problems it has caused him. 

Your job today is to look in the mirror. To think about how unflattering anger is on you, how much it transforms and deforms you when you allow it to take hold. Anger is not a good look on other people, which makes it very unlikely that it is a good look on you. So don’t waste any more time thinking about their bad fashion choices. Fix your own. 





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