Many people think they believe in it. But they don't. It's just an intellectual belief, on the surface. Go a little deeper, most people, subconsciously, strongly believe in anger.
The belief is that it's a real, practical response to adversity.
That they have to get angry and throw a lot of intensity at the source of threat or they will get stomped, walked over, ignored, mistreated, sidelined, degraded, disrespected and badly harmed.
Most of it comes from early childhood. It stands in comparison to apathy.
Well actually, anger does work better than apathy. Especially in the ruthless battlefields of early childhood; it's just much more real than some "try to be the mature one, talk it out" or "just ignore it" or some theoretical "bla bla bla" and shake hands, when a motherfucker tries to steal your lego or show disrespect in front of your 6th grade crush.
That belief often carries to adulthood, unless a person learns how there's a more real, more practical and effective response in being level-headed, how it's actually stronger and just works significantly better. And conversely, how anger is actually among the really weak, pathetic and ineffective responses that only appear strong when compared to even weaker responses like apathy or cowering.
Valuable point to understand, in my view. It's easy to hold misconceptions about what being level-headed means. It's often not understood well at all. A ton of people who aren't that and don't understand that say a ton of stuff about this that has nothing to do with it.
It's often understood well, until someone is nasty enough and the conclusion follows, "ok I tried really hard to stay calm and I just got ignored, disrespected, walked over and stomped, really great solution for a fucking monastery. Fuck you and fuck that."
The anger habit is restored with a sense of relief.
Or worse yet, somebody is so biased, they somehow conclude it's fine and decide to mask apathy or cowering with moral high ground delusions, martyr delusions, spiritual justifications or some other form of off base crap.
I don't believe it's reasonable to be somebody who can be easily walked over or fucked with or ignored or disrespected or sidelined. It sometimes can but it by no means necessitates ignoring somebody who's being rude or nasty or disrespectful or hostile or representing threats and hostilities that need to be dealt with.
What exactly would that have to do with being reasonable? Nothing, at least in my view. It doesn't help you, it doesn't help others. It harms you and it harms others. It just shows attitudes of denial and of hiding and avoiding problems.
In my view, a good way to understand being level-headed, is a person who remains calm, stable, solid and responds to adversity with reason, resolve and decisive action.
It's not somebody making big claims, big threats, raising their tone, shouting or being physically violent when it isn't reasonable. But it is also not somebody who's a pushover, who just let's shit slide when it's absolutely clear, that's not the kind of shit to let slide, who feigns rational behavior when it's just apathy or cowering, unrelated whatsoever to anything rational.
It's somebody who's just decisive and real. Speaks with actions. If and when he makes statements, he means business. Not some threats or convincing or debating or explaining or trying to make the other look bad.
You can try to provoke that person, get under skin, insult, be passive-aggressive, bad mouth, spread false rumors or accusations, try to frame them and give them a bad rep, attach negative label on them, rile them up - none of it works.
Level-headed person isn't moved by any of that crap. They won't argue or try to convince you or others, or make threats. They will just decide if and what intervention is needed and then act upon it.
Say, you're in a group of a few people, you're talking and one guy is a less-than-honest, less-than-well-meaning. An enthusiast of using passive-aggressive behaviors and underhanded communication tactics to discredit another person, make themselves feel better. He's basically throwing shit at another guy. Not an uncommon scenario.
If the guy is unreasonable or poorly understands what being reasonable actually means, he'll either try to make the other guy look more bad than him in order to defend, or he'll be trying to get the other guy to stop. By explaining, by trying to force the guy to stop with threats, or by taking some moral high ground or by winning a screaming contest or, perhaps, a fight - but one he enters completely discordant, emotionally charged, resentful and so on.
If the guy who's the target of that attitude is reasonable, there won't be emotional arguing. There won't be any insults flying back and forth, trying hard to explain to this guy how this is wrong, trying to make threats or intimidate, or referencing some moral high grounds or trying to get back at that guy and make him look back, or anything alike.
The passive-aggressive guy successfully damages the reputation of his target because the guy who fails to be reasonable takes it seriously and provides all the proof needed to make the passive-aggressive guy look credible, despite throwing all that crap.
It signifies that you're someone who's shaky, someone who loses control over themselves easily, and it typically leaves a message "if this guy is getting worked up by crap like this, something's off, he must not be very reliable."
A much more reasonable course of action is to just call that shit out for what it is, make a clear, concise, calm and decisive statement and move on. If the shit continues to be thrown, then just take decisive action or call it out again.
Sometimes it's making a clear statement about what the guy is doing, ask a clear question and directly insist that they explain themselves. Sometimes it's just leaving the group. Sometimes it's resolved on the physical level, though obviously that's really rare and best avoided.
When behavior that accompanies all of it is consistently that of a solid, stable, calm person who's just being chill, sharing value - then a simple act like this carries a lot of weight and authority.
You being solid, unmoved, unphased by this crap gives all the required proof because it signifies you're not one to lose control over yourself, and you take crap of such categories for what it is - trivial, petty.
It's hard for the passive-aggressive guy to continue with his crap. It just looks bad. He may but it just looks like he's some immature guy with issues, tryhard, with some wacky agenda.
That, more or less, is my idea of what being level-headed means.
As you can see, it's not the attitude of being a pushover or some kind of a person who allows all kinds shit be thrown their because they don't want to be angry. And yet, it's a significantly better, more real and more effective response to adversity than anger - than getting all worked up, raising voice, throwing emotionally charged insults back and forth, arguing, debating, taking some moral high ground or making threats.
It's the attitude of being solid, stable, calm and responding to adversity with reason, resolve and decisive action.
Remember the idea that most people, beneath the more surface-level beliefs, actually strongly believe they have to resort to anger in order to defend themselves in practical, real terms?
I find this understanding useful in helping me stay calm and collected when others do not, or when others are irrational or disrespectful.
That's because it makes it very clear how anger actually is, in real, practical terms - a weak response.
Not because of some haughty ideal but simply because it practically results in a weak defense. Apart from significantly degrading clarity of thought and ability to make good decisions, it sends all the wrong messages in social context. It's better than apathy, better than some other alternatives among the most unreliable of attitudes but overall - it's a very ineffective form of defense.
On the other hand, being level-headed, grounded in reason and taking decisive action - it creates much better outcomes. It's effective. It just works.