Monday, July 4, 2016

Life Lessons {Anger Series}

When I was in college I worked as a pharmacy technician. The first step when a new prescription was brought in was to get the customer’s name, address, and phone number. If I already knew the person was a regular customer, I could bypass this step.

One day a gentleman came in, whom I didn’t recognize. When I asked for his information, he became angry and yelled at me. I don’t remember what he said or what I said in response. I didn’t know what to think…he was yelling at me for doing my job.

Fortunately, the pharmacist, who was also the store owner, was nearby and came to the counter to intervene. He calmed the man down, while I escaped back into the pharmacy.

Later in the day, after the man had received his prescription (not by me) and left…he came back. The pharmacist greeted him…but he asked to talk to me. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was unprepared for what happened…

The man apologized.

He came back to the store because he wanted to apologize to me. He explained that when he had come in earlier, he and his wife had come from the doctor’s office—where they had just found out she had cancer.

I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but what I’ve never forgotten are the lessons.
1 – We never know where someone else is coming from or what they are dealing with.
In our quick-to-judge lives, we jump to conclusions. Before the apology, I’d probably decided the guy was a jerk, but he wasn’t. He was a man who was hurting. He had received overwhelming, difficult news and I just happened to be the one who caused him to release a little steam.

Years later, I still think about this. Often, when I encounter an unpleasant person I start to wonder what has happened to make her so angry. Maybe it’s just a bad day or maybe it’s much more. It doesn’t excuse nasty behavior, but sometimes it does help to explain it, even if I never know the situation.

At the very least, my experience does help me to not take someone else’s behavior personally.
2 – Never be afraid to apologize.
The fact that the man came back to apologize meant more to me than he probably knew. Instead of ignoring what had happened, he took the humble step of coming back.

I doubt it was easy for him. In the midst of the bad news he’d received that day, he took responsibility for his behavior. Maybe it was the only thing he felt he could control that day.

I wish I could tell this man what he taught me, and how his example became a life lesson I still think about often.
3 – Pay attention to what I’m dealing with and try not to project it on to others.
When this man came back to apologize, I was left with a very different impression than I had before he returned.

We never know the impression we will make on someone else. {Tweet this}

Even if the encounter is only for a moment, it’s a moment that can last a lifetime. I don’t want to be the one who sours someone else’s day. But, if I am, I hope I can recognize it, take responsibility, and change that impression.

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

In Christ,

[Photo credit:]


  1. Hi Laura followed you from Loris. Yes no1 is very true...sometimes people blow up from internalised anger.
    Thank you for your encouragement here.
    Blessings to you

  2. Hi Laura followed you from Loris. Yes no1 is very true...sometimes people blow up from internalised anger.
    Thank you for your encouragement here.
    Blessings to you

  3. super post - and I've been there - both sides. thanks for these great truths and reminders. you may enjoy a new blogger I've found who writes on kindness.Nicole Locy Phillips
    have a great day!

  4. I've been on both sides of this scenario! Great post!

  5. Laura,
    So much to make us stop and think here. When we first came home from Bulgaria with our daughter our family was a walking spectacle! Our little one was a beautiful little girl, who, on the the outside, didn't appear to have special needs. On the inside she was a traumatized child who suffered much in her previous institution. Her anger and violence were significant and it drew attention everywhere we had to go. People would judge. I received so many looks of disdain that said "I appeared to be the worst mother ever". It hurt, but through it God strengthened me and taught me to never judge a situation without knowing the whole story. I often said I wanted a t-shirt that said, "Don't judge, you don't know my story!"

    Thank you so much for this reminder and for all the hope you share here all the time! I'm so thankful for the heart and hope you share with us at #MomentsofHope! And I'm thrilled to be teaming up with you at Blessed Transgressions, as well!!!

    Blessings and smiles,

  6. Laura, Thank you for sharing the insights you gained from your experience with the gentleman who came back to apologize. I don't think people realize how little it takes to make a huge impact on a person's life, like this man's apology did for you.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. I can't believe this . . . I just came home from work smarting from the rudeness of a whole series of customers. You've given me lots of food for thought here.

  8. I found this article by way of the Moments of Hope feature. You have a beautiful blog.

    Thank you for sharing that episode from your life. It's so easy to take other people's anger or bad moods personally, when in reality, most of the time, it's because of something going on inside of them, which we know nothing about. Thank you for that reminder.

    Patti @ Embracing Home

  9. Wow what a great story Laura! I love the tips you share here as well. They are definitely tips I need to remind myself of at times. I long for the temperament and love like Jesus. I'm thankful as He continues to mold me each day. So nice to visit your site today. I love your blog. It is beautiful and I can feel your heart for God here. Have a wonderful week and blessings to you and yours!


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