How to lose your temper?

Meet Hobo. Hobo is annoying. He’ll find a way to get under your skin – wound your tissue – rub Himalayan pink salt on the wound – and say, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” But, you are hurt. You now want to drench Hobo in a mix of unfiltered sewage, rotten eggs, and apple cider vinegar.

So, you lose it. And then hobo loses it because he didn’t mean to hurt you. Sewage wins.

Hobo happens to us all. A couple of times a week. Sometimes, eight times a day. You would like to ignore him, but there’s that day called one-of-those-days and that day happens to you. You lose your marbles and give Hobo a piece of your fist.

You could indulge in the popular dictum of the numerical countdown before this, but it’s akin to holding a giant red cloth in front of a deep-breathing bull for 10 extra seconds. Also, if the first thing you tell yourself is “all I need to do now is count till ten” when someone’s hurting you, maybe you deserve to be punched in the ear.

However oxymoronic this may sound, there’s a graceful way to lose your temper. It worked for me a few times and maybe the idea of mixing rose-water into the said sewage mix may appeal to you as well.

In our heads, losing temper is the image of a very angry person screaming into your face. And most times, that’s how we lose temper too. We scream, say inane things and stiffen up. There’s this theory in the world of Public Speaking that divides your speech into three parts: 60% Body language, 30% tonality, and 10% words.

According to the experts, they are how you should practice your speech. In the world of flaring nostrils and shouting heads that equation flips. Words form 50%, tone – 45% and body language – 5%. Basically, if you can control one of the two big portions here, you are on your way to becoming less prone to a heart-attack. So, let’s look at the three in some detail:

Body Language: Perhaps only time someone will lose it about your body language is if you point a finger at them. There’s something about the whole finger-pointing shtick that makes us go crazy. So, in summary, you are better off not making a point with your finger. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the 5%. Now, the other two.

Words: Heard the tongue hurts more than a sword aphorism? I am not so sure. I cut my finger chopping onions and that hurt more than mom calling me a useless prick. But words can become sword sometimes. And you can use that sword to hurt or point with it.

You will come to see the difference through this virtue called maturity. Trying to choose your words before you lose your shit is as hard as trying to count till twenty before you lose your temper. As the rule of the pointing index-finger, if you take a sadistic relish in the words coming out of your mouth,  or have no idea what you are saying: you are hurting with your sword.

Disclosure: I am terrible at this. I tend to swear when I lose my temper because let’s face it, it’s nice. You don’t have to be like that, but chances are that you are and hence the next idea may work better.

Tone:  Imagine swearing in a normal tone and volume. It’s like showing off your sword skills. But, when you increase your volume, your tone automatically changes. And the potent sword now leaves a bloody gash in the relationship. Dr. John Gottman, a relationship expert who can predict if a couple will stay together with 90% accuracy says the tone is the #1 factor in his prediction, and a tone of contempt (looking down on the other person) is the sword that severs the relationship.

Maybe there is some science to it after all my sword crap. Lowering my voice has a magical effect on my temper. Usually, after I lose it, the other person loses it too and then we both roll around in sewage. Lowering my voice is the Rosewater. Now, even if my adversary decided to roll with me, we would both stink less.

I wish I could back this up with more science and give you ninja hacks or something. But, chances are that you won’t remember them when Hobo temper strikes. Mostly and unfortunately, the person will remind you that you are shouting at him/her and that is your best reminder.

I also wish I could tell you life’s too short to lose your temper. Psychologically, practically, and hypocritically: I can’t. What life is really short for is the kind of temper that can render your relationships short. The abusive, voice-raising, face-reddening, body-clashing type of temper. This kind of temper can sometimes make us feel strong and powerful, but that’s just your ego compensating for insecurity and inability.

Ever had a balloon blow up on your face as you were bringing it to life? Temper is like that balloon. You could deflate the balloon by gradually letting the air out or you can keep pumping more air into it until it bursts.

Some of us like to blow that balloon a little every day. Fill ourselves with the air of temper knowing that one day, the balloon will burst. That’s why I think the whole idea of enough is enough is dumb. What’s the point of controlling nerves all along and then wreak havoc to make up for all of it, ten times over?

Why not just spread the havoc around a little. Why break the entire cutlery in one day when you can break a plate one day and the bowl next week and then realize fix that mess before you decide to break more things.

Leave Hobo stranded with some rose-water.

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