All sorts of things can trigger irritability in people, from minor traffic jams to major headaches. Everyone gets upset or annoyed sometimes. We all have lost our temper and reacted without thinking. We have succumbed to anger that drives us to say and do things we normally wouldn’t. And it is when we lose control over our thoughts and feelings, that our irritability and anger can do some major damage to our relationships and lives.

For the most part, irritability is likely to occur when we feel under pressure. Therefore, one of the best tests for measuring our irritability is to observe how we behave when having to manage stressful circumstances or people. If we can remain graceful toward others when under pressure, then we are probably exercising self-control. Our temper is well-managed and good. We are not allowing agitation to anger us or disrupt our relationships. If, on the other hand, pressure and stress bring out the worst in us, then we probably need to work on our self-control and temper.

When irritable, we are very likely to become easily angered at others, sometimes at the slightest provocation. We might even become hostile and behave in ways we will later regret. Gaining control over our thoughts, feelings, and actions when irritated and angry is the best way to keep from acting out in unloving ways.

Self-control communicates love. It can be seen when we:

* Take responsibility for our reactions
* Do not accuse or blame others for the way we feel
* Treat others graciously although they irritate us
* Keep from saying something hurtful and unnecessary
* Do not take our anger out on those around us
* Think things through before we react
* Allow ourselves a time-out to gather ourselves together
* Do not expect more from others than we should

The disposition of love is self-control and a good temper. Having self-control and a good temper is easier said than done, especially for those individuals who are more prone to irritability for various reasons. Even so, we can all learn to gain greater control over our tempers and how we react under pressure. Irritations will never cease, nor does our love need to when they come.


What makes me most irritable?

What do I do when I am under more pressure than I feel I can handle?

How do I treat others when I am irritated?

Do I have to have the last word? Explain.

On a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being severe and 0 being nonexistent, how would I rate my temper?

How would those closest to me rate my temper?

Review the list of how self-control communicates love. Which one(s) do I do often? Which one(s) do I need more work on?


We may not be able to control stressors and pressures in our lives, but how we respond to them is up to us.

I can accept responsibility for my temper and exercise self-control.

When anger arises, think of the consequences. ~Confucious

An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes. ~Cato

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses. ~William Arthur Ward

Take note! Every sixty seconds you spend angry, upset, or mad, is a full minute of happiness you'll never get back. ~unknown

Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into a power which can move the whole world. ~William Shenstone

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. ~Epictetus

Taken from The 10 Keys to Happy & Loving Relationships Part 9 (Love is Not Easily Angered) by Krystal Kuehn,

Copyright © 2006, 2010 Krystal Kuehn. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family couples counseling, child teen counseling center,, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Krystal is also author of several blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Be Your Best blog, Baby Poems blog and Words of Inspiration blog!