Sometimes people try to find ways to express their anger in a less dangerous way….
Hi REBT Mates,
I find this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh interesting, very interesting, because it flies in the face of what all of us hippies and others in the Human Potential Movement regarded as the appropriate way to deal with anger. It was the "teapot theory of emotions"; Express yourself! Vent! Get it all out before the steam expands too rapidly and explodes the teapot. After I got involved with REBT-CBT, I began to replace the "teapot theory of emotions" with what I term the "bell theory of emotions," likening emotions to a resonating bell rather than an expanding, explosive teapot. I wrote a longish piece about this " Is keeping emotions “bottled up” dangerous?" for this blog not long ago. It is only recently that I have learned that my "bell theory . . ." is very much in line with (some) Buddhist teachings. What do you think? Do you think it is important to "vent" before you explode?
Sometimes people try to find ways to express their anger in a less dangerous way. They may go into their room, close the door behind them, and pound a pillow with all their might. Naturally, if you beat a pillow until your energy is exhausted, your anger will subside, and you will probably experience a temporary feeling of relief—exhaustion is easier to bear than anger—but the roots of the anger remain untouched, and when the conditions are right, the same anger will arise again.
~Thich Nhat Hanh: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series)
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Originally posted 2013-05-03 19:26:38.