There seems to be a lot of anger in the world today. It’s apparent in the comment sections of the articles we read, the back-and-forth between sides on social media sites, random ranting from newscasters, and the person stuck next to us in traffic on our way home from work.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard not to be angry in today’s world, but we here at Short Life Long Road believe it is a state of being we need to move away from. It is hindering mankind’s ability to create a society where we can exist together peacefully (that’s not to say some anger can’t be constructive, but that’s for another post).
Unfortunately, there’s a lot to be angry about: having to go to work, sitting in traffic, standing in line behind someone at the grocery store who doesn’t know how to use a chip reader, bills piling up, screaming kids, economic instability, the demands of a technologically modern world, division among friends and neighbors, terrorism, war, the general unfairness of society, disease, etc.,–all contribute to our anger. Not to mention the stress and worry that comes from our awareness of these things, most of which, we have no control over.
I’m 28 years old and have spent the majority of my young adult life (I include my hormone induced rage as a teen in this time) being angry. While some of it was warranted due to circumstances out of my control, there was no legitimate reason for me to be as angry as I was. All things considered I had, and have, a pretty good life. There have been bumps in the road, as there are for all of us, but complaining is not something I should do considering how much worse it is for a lot of people out there.
A lot of the previously mentioned people do have the right to complain. They do have a right to be angry because the circumstances presented to them are often too difficult to overcome, and the hand dealt by fate was far worse than many of our own. The problem arises when that anger consumes us, especially when it is trivial, at best. If we don’t do anything about it, it’ll boil within us every day, waiting for the moment that finally makes it spill over the pot and scorch everything in our paths.
I was, and sometimes still am, that way. I’d wake up each day angry to hear the alarm, angry I had to dress up and prepare for the hour and a half commute on a dirty bus, angry I had a job where I stared at grey walls for nine hours, and angry I had to spend my hard-earned money on bills and necessities rather than beer and video games. What made things worse was sifting through articles during my breaks, watching people do dumb things and treat other humans with less than respect–I was adding the last ingredient that permeated the rage within my veins.
I’d often come home in a fit, usually for no reasons other than exhaustion, disappointment for failing at my dreams, and a hatred for everything around me. I was so wound up that I was ready to snap on the next person who glanced at me funny. My outlook was bleak and constantly reinforced by news/comments that painted a negative picture of current events, and a job that determined my worth by the money I made and the time I sacrificed to them. Luckily, something miraculous happened to me at the right time: I became very tired.
Unfortunately, what worked for me will not work for everyone–I became weary of being angry and tired all the time, so I made a conscious decision to stop. It was as simple as that for me. I realized that most of what I saw in our society, and the world, was completely out of my hands or misrepresented (what we see in the news or hear from our peers is often distorted to represent the worst).
I eventually opened my eyes and understood that even though my life wasn’t where I wanted it to be (working 8-5, taking a bus to and from work), it was still pretty good and nothing was as bad as it seemed. I had a decent home, good friends, cold beer to drink, and all the necessities more than half the world goes without.
I had to stop taking things so literally. I had to stop thinking that all the events occurring elsewhere were happening to me. To correct my behavior, I began worrying about the things in my life that I have control over instead of other forces at play, and I’ve been better because of it.
When I was angry, I thought the world had to cater to my feelings, wants, and desires to fix it, but it never did. Anything that went wrong in other places was somehow inconveniencing me and it was just a matter of time until it became clear that mindset wasn’t working any longer. I can’t control the world but I can control my world and how I react to everything else.
The purpose of this post is to highlight some of the many reasons we become angry. Many of us look to external sources as the cause of our anger but I’d like to argue that we have to look within. Is our anger self-inflicted? What are the things we can do to change it?
The answers and solutions are different for every individual. Mine was as simple as changing my mindset and not taking the world’s negativity to heart, but that will not be the case for everyone.
The best suggestions I have for our readers is to take a look within and try to pinpoint the source of the anger. Then, take a look around and ask yourself if you want to spend the rest of your life as someone who let’s rage bubble inside them? Or as someone who doesn’t let it get the best of them? Do you have the ability to look past some of the trivial items listed above? Because if you look at those around you, it has taken a hold of too many in our society.
I want you to know that if you take a really good look and see your environment isn’t what some make it out to be, you may find that life is not as bad as its perceived. We just need the rest of the world to do the same. Less anger will hopefully lead to fewer problems.
“There are two things a person should never be angry at: what they can help, and what they cannot.” –Plato
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