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Inspirational and Insightful Quotations #37 --- Temper

Updated on March 7, 2011

Quotations on Temper

Never lose your temper. Many men have an idea that display of temper is a sign of strength, or the power to direct other men. The truth is, of course, that temper comes from lack of self-control, and is therefore an indication of weakness.

—Henry L. Doherty, American Magazine, Springfield, Ohio, December 1918.

If you're losing your temper unduly, if you feel you're losing control, step outside for a while until you feel more calm. Don't try to do everything all at once. Seek and you'll find the peace you are seeking. You can't teach spiritual values in anger.

—M. Russell Ballard, The San Diego SeagulI, San Diego, Calif., October 1991.

Making things snappy isn't synonymous with snapping at your neighbor.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Aug. 7, 1927.

A man with an ungovernable temper is a volcano within himself.

—George G. Benedict, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Honolulu, Hawaii, Sept. 9, 1936.

A man who is, in nearly all other ways dignified and well poised, loses his temper without any apparent provocation whatsoever, and for the time being very closely resembles a Kansas cyclone.

When the storm is over, the sunshine of his nature comes out again and he is peaceful enough to eat out of your hand.

His will power is so strong that his neighbors have wondered why it was not sufficient to control even such a temper as his.

The power of will, however, can hardly control temper, though at times it may delay the explosion, giving his family a chance to see it instead of the patient at his office. ...

Do you have a temper? Well, the stream that is connected with the temper may indicate energy, which is a good sign, if you leave the thunder and lightning out of your storms.

Do you know what happens inside of you just before the storm arrives? If you know, the cure for your temper is already partly on its way.

The first thing that happens immediately when you get irritated is that you begin to tighten up physically. That is, you become physically tense–very tense.

You resemble a steel spring that is compressed, ready to relax the strain at the first opportunity.

Did it ever occur to you that you would find it extremely difficult to put up a real mental storm if you remained physically relaxed? Try it the next time you get highly peeved. You may learn something about temper and how to cure it.

The next time you feel temper coming on begin to get as limp as a wet rag all inside, and the best way to do it is to practice the llimpness" each time you exhale your breath. You will find that in a very few times you will begin to relax and with it go the tenseness that was beginning to coil back the spring ready for action. ...

After trying this method for a while you may be such a changed man that you may have to get introduced to your family all over again, and your dog may bite you, but in the long run, they (including the dog) will think more of you for the change.

—Julian Pennington, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., April 7, 1935.

For a human being never to know anger in some form is hardly possible and certainly not desirable. There are times when anger is necessary. The fact that a person is intelligent, liberal and tolerant does not mean that he is a wishy-washy, goody-goody, lacking sufficient opinions and energy to utter an unmistakable "No" or "Yes" when these are called for. Modern civilization would have been impossible unless our ideals were fortified by "righteous indignation." Every step upward from savagery has been due, not only to a vision which some men have had of a better way of living or doing things, but to their fierce determination that the vision become a reality. Think of the men who have fought to conquer nature and eradicate disease, of such men whose angry, inflexible will it was that justice and truth should prevail.

Some writers on popularity stress "amiability" and "compromise." These qualities are often very valuable and effective. But suppose our rights and self-respect are threatened? What then? A person of character has convictions, the courage to fight for them and take the consequences. The individual who is overtactful, always retreating when the going gets rough, may or may not know his rights. But certainly he dare not exert himself in their behalf, because he is unsure of himself and of his ability to back up the stand he knows he should take. Moreover, he fears he will incur even more disapproval or punishment if he talks up. Such a person, instead of being outspoken in his anger and having it done and over with, will torture himself for years with silent protests and unworkable plans for settling things right. Those who suffer from chronic cordiality must learn how to get angry, but before this they must discover why they are unsure of themselves.

Indignation, then, is sometimes desirable. But the same cannot be said of the common garden varieties of anger: rage and temper. Now every emotion can be expressed in childish and adult forms. Rage is the first language infants acquire for indicating displeasure. Later on in childhood, rage is used as a way of attracting attention or as a blackmail device. "Better give me what I want right now, or else I'll make you sorry you didn't!" As we grow up, we learn that we cannot always get what we want through tantrums. They may work with members of the family who cannot escape or exile us. The outside world, however, does not have to put up with our nonsense and leaves us strictly alone after one taste of it. Thus we are forced to master another language, at least for strangers: we reason and persuade; we ask for things and work for them; we state our case with vigor.

Often the second language is not really desired. In such instances, temper is thought a sign of power. The addict enjoys whipping himself into a rage and noting the effect of this on the household. He is proud of the flashing eyes, the crimson (or deadly pale) cheeks, the mighty torrent of words, some quite fancy. When it is over, he feels if he had a workout on the football field, which is where it should have occurred in the first place. We all need ways of letting off steam, but we should use apparatus for this, not people.

Temper is really a weakness, a signal of defeat, and that is why it cannot be cured by someone with more temper or by counting. Our "addict" seeks to make up for some satisfaction unattainable elsewhere. Things fared poorly for him at school or at the party and he therefore fusses at the table because he is served last. He cannot get what he wants or he doesn't want what he can get. Caught in a jam where he is unable to accept a situation or change it, he resorts to making faces accompanied by much sound and fury--all signifying nothing. The temperish individual seldom knows what he is actually angry about. This he proves by making a fuss of the same type and amount on almost a daily schedule.

The chief causes of chronic ill temper are fears, the sources of which we do not know as well as a strong feeling that we have not received the approval and affection which is our due. Ill-health, insufficient rest, inadequate recreational outlets, overexcitement, worry about unemployment, war, family difficulties--all may be contributing factors. Study of a given individual is necessary if we are to learn how he got that way or how he can be helped. But this is clear: it is just as important to educate our emotions as our minds. Emotional education does not mean destroying anger or giving it free rein. Anger is an essential part of our lives. But it is most useful when it is most impersonal, that is, when its energy is harnessed to ideals and pursuits likely to prove beneficial to the individual and society.

—George Lawton, Scholastic, New York, N.Y., May 13, 1940.

Some people couldn't keep their temper if they put it on ice.

—Duncan M. Smith, Charleston Daily Mail, Charleston, W.Va., May 4, 1904.

The more you lose your temper the more you have.

—Duncan M. Smith, Morgantown Daily Post, Morgantown, W.Va., May 31, 1906.

He who holds his temper is a living example of the triumph of mind over muscle.

—W.F. Thomson, St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 12, 1922.

If we school ourselves and bring our own tempers and dispositions into subjection we shall then have influence to do good, over the minds of our acquaintances; but if we do not control ourselves how can we have influence over others?

—Brigham Young, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 9, 1870.

A wise man, who loses his temper, makes up his mind what he is going to say–then doesn't say it. The foolish spout out–then sometimes fail to think, and rarely apologize for their unwarranted actions.

—Roy E. Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, Dec. 8, 1955.

He who has a hot temper should keep it in a cool place, tightly corked.

—Roy E. Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, Oct. 25, 1956.

Your days get progressively leaner as your temperament grows meaner.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., Aug. 14, 1969.

What a pity that the guy who is always blowing off never blows up.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., Aug. 31, 1965.

When you lose your head hold your tongue.

—Wayne Kerr, Payson Chronicle, Payson, March 4, 1932.

The worst thing about losing your temper is that you can so easily find it again.

New York Times, New York, N.Y., Oct. 4, 1908.

When a man loses his temper someone else is apt to catch it.

New York Times, New York, N.Y., April 17, 1910.

A man who can't hold his temper can't expect anyone else to tackle the job for him.

Louisville Herald, Louisville, Ky., Feb. 18, 1911.

The hotheaded often get cold feet.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., July 29, 1906.

There is a great deal of difference between giving your temper away and giving way to your temper.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Sept. 29, 1905.

When a man falls down his temper generally gets up before he does.

Caldwell Post, Caldwell, Kans., Feb. 12, 1880.

The surest way to keep out of a quarrel is to keep one's temper.

Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 13, 1912.

The man who loses his temper loses his mind.

Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, Oct. 23, 1894.

Procrastination is the thief of time and exasperation is the thief of temper.

Greeneville Democrat-Sun, Greeneville, Tenn., Sept. 30, 1922.


Submit a Comment

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    This is an excellent article. I believe many lives are destoyed because of fear manifesting as temper. The fruits of the Spirit are to keep us from fleshly failings such as temper. God's law always overrides the law of the flesh.

    "Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

    Great job on this one!


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