When angry, pause

How much more harmful are the consequences of anger and grief than the circumstances that aroused them in us!

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 11.18.8

A child spills milk and a parent barks a nasty comment that will resonate for years.

An employee generously offers constructive feedback to a boss, who then chooses to retaliate.

A citizen is suspected of using counterfeit money to buy cigarettes and is killed by the arresting officer.

What we need is to exercise our ability to pause. Here is how Dov Seidman puts it: “One of the simplest and most powerful tools we have as individuals is the ability to pause. Think about it. When you press pause on a machine, it stops. When we pause as humans, we begin. Pausing creates a space where one can see clearly, differentiate amongst the competing stimuli of daily life, and make determinations about how to best move forward.”

And the best way forward is not to create harm but to create a better world (tikkun olam). Today and every day, let’s recognize what ignites anger in us, let us pause, and let us begin to repair the world.

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