Letting Go of Unhealthy Anger: The LaGuardia Incident

Written by Zach Grossfeld

Last week, a guy bumped into me while I was waiting at baggage claim. Here’s my truth:


I stumbled back a bit. While waiting at the baggage claim, a man bumped my left shoulder while looking down at his phone. I turned back and waited for him to apologize.


Within seconds, my brain spun a hamster wheel of all of the things I wanted to happen to that man:

Fuck that guy; I hope he loses his bag. 

I hope he gets slapped with a 10x Uber Surge Charge

Maybe he’ll get sucked through the baggage claim conveyor belt. 

I felt angry. This feeling wasn’t healthy anger. No one had significantly wronged me. The worst I had suffered was a slight bump, followed by a quick recovery.

As for most of the suffering, I was instilling that upon myself. 

The toxic thoughts and change in mood were a result of me latching onto a fleeting emotion, building it up to the point that felt good, felt right. I fed off of the anger until a thought crossed my mind:

I’m the only one suffering here. 

That guy doesn’t give a shit that he hit me.

All he cares about is grabbing his bags, getting in the car, and going home to jerk off and fall asleep.

I guess we all mostly care about the same things. 

Also, I have no idea what this guy is enduring.

Maybe he just read the most traumatic text message of his life and didn’t notice that he nudged me. Perhaps he found out that his wife has ovarian cancer or that he lost his job. If that were the case, then I don’t blame him for not looking up. 

The chances are that whatever popped up on his screen wasn’t that serious, but you never know. Initially, giving that man the benefit of the doubt would’ve given me 10 minutes of my life back that I wasted in useless rage. 

The face you make when you realize life’s too short not to drink it off.

The face you make when you realize life’s too short not to drink it off.

Everything, every feeling is temporary.

Changing perspective and imagining what others go through will expedite the journey from unhealthy anger to peace.

The ego wants you to believe that you have the direst circumstances out of everyone at the airport.

Recognize the buildup of heat and stress, and imagine what the other person could be going through. 

Sure, maybe that guy was just an asshole, but I’m not forgiving him for him.

I’m forgiving him for myself.

I don’t want to hold on to unnecessary anger that will corrupt my thinking and marginalize my relationships. 

Ed Latimore sums this sentiment up well:

I forgive because I’m selfish.

I don’t do it for the other person. 

I do it, so I no longer have to think about or feel anything from my past. 

To summarize:

  • Recognize unwarranted/unhealthy anger (not all anger is unhealthy)

  • Take the other person’s perspective (What could he/she be going through?)

  • Everything is temporary

  • Forgive for yourself, not for the other person (Who cares if they’re the asshole?)