The double-edged sword of a bad decision

At first, I thought someone had turned on a television set somewhere. After all, it’s not normal for people to just start screaming in the middle of a restaurant. But it didn’t last long, so I went back to my hummus and my conversation with my friend across the table. Only moments later, the woman at the other side of the restaurant started screaming again.

From the angle where I was sitting, I couldn’t see her well. But she was pretty much just telling someone to leave her alone. I don’t know who it was. Honestly, I was a little hesitant to look. It went on for a little while until she left, pushing someone out the door with her. Again, I was trying not to pay too close attention.

The only think I could think and say when she left was that somebody was having a really bad day. I’ve had days like that, where I really just wanted to scream at everyone. But does screaming really help?

Shouting womanToday’s verse is Proverbs 9:13.

The woman named Folly is brash.
She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.

As far as I know, there’s no particular reason that Folly (or foolishness) in this passage is personified as female. That’s not a sexist statement. Actually, Wisdom in the verses just before it is also personified as female. Both men and women can be foolish or wise. It has nothing to do with gender.

Now, I didn’t know the woman who was at the restaurant. I’m sure she was having a really hard time, otherwise she wouldn’t have reacted the way she did. But I can tell you the times when I’ve snapped or shouted at someone else because I was having a bad day, it never helped the situation. It usually just made it worse.

In the heat and emotion of the moment, anger makes us feel better. Shouting makes us feel stronger. But it doesn’t actually change anything about us. It really just draws more attention to ourselves.

That’s the double-edge sword of poor choices. When you make your decision, you think you know what you’re doing. But it turns out that you don’t. You just didn’t realize it.

Again, nothing against this poor woman, but I’m pretty sure that blowing a gasket and screaming her lungs out in the middle of a restaurant didn’t end up making her problem go away. I wasn’t privy to the conversation, so I don’t know. Maybe I’m generalizing.

But I know what happens when I react that way. When I’m faced with the option of losing my cool or staying calm, and I lose my cool, I end up hurting people, and I generally make life more difficult for myself.

Life is tough sometimes. And there really are moments when it feels like you just have to scream at someone. But you know what? Maybe it’ll make you feel better for a moment, but that kind of satisfaction is fleeting. And in the process, you’ll run the risk of ruining someone else’s day. Are you really so selfish that you would sabotage someone else’s day just to make yourself feel better for half a second?

That’s not a good trade. It’s not worth it.

Take a deep breath. Get your perspective straight. Sing a song, say a prayer, do something. There are other ways to deal with a bad day or difficult circumstances than going around screaming at people. Do yourself (and everybody around you) a favor and try to think of some. Who knows? You might come up with a solution to your own problem.