It Isn’t Manly to Be Enraged

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on — it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance — unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”


What’s a great indicator of weakness? It is whether a person is quick to anger. This signifies a lack of inner fortitude and self-control. And that certainly does not make one “manly” or tough — quite the contrary, it creates a vulnerability that opponents can exploit. It’s a mistake, as the author points out in The Daily Stoic today.

Strength comes from being able to control your emotions. I’m reminded of DK Metcalf, the hulking specimen of muscle and the living embodiment of manliness, who plays wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks football team. He’s a full foot taller and 50+lbs more muscular than most of his opponents. Early in his career, he was hot-headed and let his aggression and fury get the better of him. He allowed the opposing teams to take advantage of that.

Quickly he learned that it isn’t manly to be enraged, it was just stupid. So DK got smarter — and he found a way to get calmer, while pushing the buttons of his opponents to look for ways to enrage them, and thus gain advantage. He flipped the script, and gained control of his mind.

Anger = lost respect

Years ago, I moved to Indonesia to teach English. That was in a different life, actually — I’ll tell you about it some day.

While trying to assimilate to the culture, one lesson imparted to me was that Indonesians lose respect for anyone who gets angry. And we’re not talking about slightly miffed or perturbed, we’re talking about shouting and waving hands. Really losing it over stupid stuff.

Yelling and blowing your top = not cool. Lost respect. Like how we feel when a Karen-type goes off suddenly. Disdain and scorn follows.

And why shouldn’t it mean this? Becoming furiously angry means you’ve lost control, and haven’t mastered your emotions enough to process them intentionally. It’s a social skill we learn (or not, I suppose) as young children. So if you display an utter lack of ability in this arena, and aren’t even trying to look in the mirror, then you should expect to be treated like a child in return. Certainly not like a man.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow and get Billy's daily meditation:

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x