You’re stewing about that nasty thing your boss said at work. You’re carrying around anger at the contractor who has left your house a mess, at the idiots in front of you in traffic, at the insane mess that is our current political situation. The rage is understandable—all of these things are upsetting.
But it doesn’t change the fact that you’re largely impotent to do anything about them.
So here’s a crazy idea: Instead of grinding your teeth, what if you spent that energy trying to be a better parent? What if you caught yourself and said, “I’m not going to be mad. I’m going to tell my son that I love him.” What if you gave your daughter a hug? What if you took the family out to go do something fun?
The Stoics remind us not only to focus on what’s in our control, but specifically in regards to aggravating people, they tell us that the best revenge is to not be like them. Don’t be angry. Live well. Don’t get sucked into a negative world, commit more deeply to a positive world that you do control–the one you live in with your family. The one where your children will not exist forever—so enjoy it now while you can.
Put that energy where it counts. Put it where it makes you better.