I am quick-tempered, and I know it. I get upset over anything that I feel offends me or I see is not right or fair. I raise my voice a lot when I am irritated. I do it because I think people will understand me that way. But the only thing I accomplish is to push people away because they are intimidated by the way I express myself. That makes me feel badly, because I do not intend to offend anyone. I ask for forgiveness, but sometimes I prefer to keep my distance in order to avoid offending someone again in a conversation.

Dear Friend,

How wonderful that you understand the consequences of your actions! But it is one thing to understand, and quite another to be able to control your behavior.

Imagine two glasses of water. The first is almost full of water, and the second is almost empty. If you pour the same amount of extra water into each of the two glasses, one glass will overflow and the other will not. What makes the difference is the amount of water that was already in the glasses before you poured in the extra.

It may be that there is something inside you that makes you already “almost full,” and that is why the slightest thing will cause you to overreact. It could be that you have a difficult time accepting that most of the situations of our lives are not really fair. I frequently think about how unfair it is that there are refugees living in tents with no electricity or clean water, while I have those things and so much more.

It could be that you have been discriminated against in your life, or that someone has taken advantage of you in the past. Maybe you raise your voice and speak forcefully because you feel that people have never paid attention to your opinion. Whether you are filled with anger, bitterness, or frustration, it is time to recognize those emotions and talk about your feelings with someone you trust. A professional counselor or a therapeutic group would be best, but a compassionate friend might also be a good listener.

Another way to process your emotions would be to keep a journal. You could keep an account of the times that you know you expressed yourself too forcefully, along with the feelings you had before, during, and after it happened. Reading back over multiple incidents could reveal patterns, and examining the patterns could help you determine how to respond differently in the future.

God created us as emotional beings, so feeling negative emotions is not sinful. But when we allow negative emotions to cause us to treat others badly, we must probe into those emotions and deal with them so that they cannot continue to affect us in such negative ways. Talking to a counselor and writing in a journal are ways to begin to deal with these destructive emotions. We also suggest that you pray and ask God for His help and strength.

We wish you the best,