When to Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger

July 24, 2018

Categories: Anger

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Usually this is good advice. It’s important for couples to deal with their issues, and not let their anger fester. Like a wound, it’s good to clean the anger out, even if it feels painful at the time.

But like most things, this recommendation isn’t helpful 100% of the time. Sometimes it’s best to let the sun go down on your anger and try again tomorrow.

Arguing about Vacation

My wife and I had this experience a couple weeks ago. We were heading out for a vacation, but ran into some problems. Our first flight was cancelled because of mechanical problems. After rushing around and talking to an airline representative, we were booked on another flight that evening. After waiting a few hours for that flight, we found out our second flight was canceled too!

We rushed around again, trying to find another option, but couldn’t get on another flight that night. So, we headed home, frustrated and disappointed. Then we got into an argument. Jenn wanted to take the earliest flight out the next morning, at 6am. I preferred to get a good night’s sleep and head out the next afternoon. We kept arguing, and then we started to get upset at each other, frustrated at the other person’s lack of understanding for our point of view.

Calling it a Night

We needed to call it a night. We were both stressed out and cranky after spending the entire day in the airport. It would be good for us to have this discussion at some point, but we could have a more productive discussion if we were well-rested. The best thing for our relationship was to press pause and talk about these issues at a different time.

Struggling with Work

I have had a similar experience in my work. Usually I try to be disciplined and finish the work I set out to do for the day. Usually this is a good recommendation, but not always. Sometimes during my work, I get tired and frustrated, and then I don’t think as clearly. When I get to this point, it’s a good idea to call it a night and try again tomorrow. Keeping at it can feel like banging my head against the wall.

Take Home Message: Most of the time, it’s best to tackle a problem or task head on. But not always. If you find yourself struggling to come to a discussion or task with a clear head, consider pressing the pause button, and trying again tomorrow.


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