So, we have a budget, yeah? Then spend it wisely. A cyclist absently swerves a bit into the center of the lane, and you have a choice: shout expletives into your cell phone about some asshole on a bike while you're hammering the horn; or honk productively, to let the guy who's probably not any more of an asshole than you know he's swerving into traffic. The first choice might feel good for five seconds, but then there's a little bit more stress in your life. The second choice is productive, in that it produces a result: safety, and perhaps a little more enlightenment for the guy on the bike. If you're using a limited resource, like water or anger, then seems you want to consider what its secondary effects are. In this case, you're choosing between stress and enlightenment. Maybe that's an easy decision, but only after you think about it for a while.
Not that easy, you guys. The American culture includes a value assessment of your anger, your aggression, as a definition of your character. Not all Americans, and probably not only Americans, but at least Americans. (I don't get out much.) It's what drives a litigious society, one that appeals to some authority to get at the other guy instead of maybe talking to them about the issue. I hope we each have a story about that time we chose not to get in that lady's face or sue a dental surgeon for ruining our sense of taste, and then felt good about ourselves. Do that, the feeling good about yourself for being a grown up. It'll help start a good habit.
I've kind of figured that out for me but only insofar as it's a nice-sounding fiction to aspire to. I'm a petty, angry guy. I've done mean things to people I love. I've yelled and slammed my fist on tables because—beware, this is pretty graphic evil I'm fighting—because someone smacked her mouth eating cereal. It is so much easier to be angry in any given moment because it comes with a flush of feeling powerful, but it's not power. Power comes from spending your anger wisely. I think. I'm just making this up but it seems reasonable. At least, someone in a short story I'll never write, the reasonable guy, like Simon from The Lord of the Flies, or Yoda, would probably say something like that.
Actually, Yoda's not a bad example. If you've inflicted any of the Star Wars prequels on yourself, well first shame on you, but also, Yoda's calm and wise until it's time to drop a hammer on some asshole. Until it's actually time to do that. The rest of the time, he's flexing his alternative grammar muscles and confusing people into a higher conciousness.
The hardest part, for me, is figuring out when it's actually time to do that. Am I arguing with Danielle about the kid situation because I'm wrong and she's right, or because I feel guilty, and if the latter is it a justified guilt, and is there even such a thing as justified guilt? Who's right about what and when can I spend my anger productively? Maybe never, when it comes to my family and friends and anyone who's not oppressing me. Sounds like something Yoda might say.