The Secret of getting over your temper tantrum

NLP techniques

The Secret of getting over a temper tantrum surprised you, I expect – yes, that’s right your temper tantrum, not your child’s or your grandchild’s.  We don’t like to admit it, but we all do it from time to time, don’t we? 

It is usually to make a point, because we are tired or angry, or all of the above but then we have to say sorry and perhaps feel a little foolish or what started out as a silly spat is in danger of turning into a major row.


If you kick a stone in anger, you’ll hurt your own foot  - Korean proverb


The Secret – self-importance

Sometimes we are just a little bit too full of our own self-importance, aren’t we?  We feel we have a point to prove and we just lose it for a moment or two. 

If you belong to a sports or social club you will have seen it there, it happens in the workplace and, of course, it happens in the family.

My 82-year-old mother-in-law belongs to a bowls club.  All the members are retired and most are around her age.  They go there for pleasure and recreation and enjoy each other’s company. 

Last week one of the members stormed out just before a match because he disagreed with the team selection and hasn’t been seen since. 

The Secret – sense of perspective

The secret is to keep a sense of perspective and recognise your folly quickly before real damage is done. 

Oftentimes you just need to give yourself a few minutes to cool down, come to your senses and then apologise sincerely. 

Most rational people will accept an apology genuinely meant and move on because they can see that there, but for the grace of God …  It is when you don’t apologise that things can go badly wrong.

John’s story

John Curtis was a prominent businessman in his local community.  He owned a large and luxurious yacht on which he entertained business colleagues and friends. 

He was generally well-liked but he could at times be a little self-important.  He belonged to a prestigious yacht club with a Royal title. 

Unfortunately, during an evening of entertainment at the yacht club – rather late at night when most had left – he decided to dance on the President’s boardroom table.

Now, it probably doesn’t need pointing out that members were forbidden to dance on the boardroom table, and John knew that, but his high spirits (and perhaps a little alcohol) affected his judgment that evening and he misbehaved.

Apology demanded

A few days later John received a curt letter from the yacht club President pointing out the error of his ways and warning him about his future conduct.  

By now John was fully sober and, one would have hoped in a sensible frame of mind.  But his attitude was, “Who do they think they are writing to me in this fashion?” 

So he posted a blistering response to the President and Committee.  As a result of that an urgent committee meeting was called and the decision was taken that John must formally apologise or resign his membership.

The last thing on earth John was prepared to do was apologise to the President and Committee of that club so he resigned forthwith. 

He had no desire to do that because this was where he met and socialised with so many of his friends and business contacts, but all of that was lost in the face of submitting a simple apology.

On the side of John’s yacht were painted the words Royal Wyke Yacht Club but he was no longer entitled to use that inscription.  

Rather than paint over the words, he added a couple of extra letters and all those who thereafter gazed upon his yacht could see the words Ex-Royal Wyke Yacht Club, and those who knew of it were forever reminded of the incident and John’s silly spat and childish behaviour at the club.

The Secret – who gained?

Who gained from this silly squabble over almost nothing?  Certainly not John.  He lost the benefit and prestige of belonging to a prominent yacht club and the convivial social gatherings with his friends. 

The club lost an otherwise respected member of the community who generally would have helped to enhance the club’s reputation. 

All John had to do at the outset was to say he was sorry for being so silly, for that is all it was. 

No-one had been hurt by his actions but he knew his conduct was unseemly and should not have taken place in such surroundings.

Indeed, it would have been better had he not waited for the letter from the President, but sought out the President the day after, explained he had a little too much to drink and was too high spirited, offered a sincere apology and, if necessary, to meet the committee and do the same.

Say sorry and mean it

It never hurt anyone to say sorry and mean it.  “Sorry” is a word.  It doesn’t have a sharp point on the end of it which turns towards you and pierces your heart muscle as soon as you utter it. 

It is a soothing, conciliatory word.  If you could feel it, it would be gentle to the touch.  If you could smell it, it would be sweetness itself.  If it were set to music, it would calm the soul. 

It should be part of everybody’ s vocabulary.  Presidents, prime ministers and world leaders should be familiar with it and use it frequently.  It would ease conflict and lessen the reasons for nations to war with one another.

I wish I could say I'd never had a temper tantrum. Far from it. I am no more a saint than you are.  Indeed, you are probably much more likely to come to the attention of the Pope than I am.

But when I have a tantrum I really do try to get over it quickly because, as someone said, being angry in that way is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die.  

And I believe I have learned that sorry is one of the most important words in the dictionary.


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