Denormalizing Anger

I Can't Take Much More Of This Shit
I Can’t Take Much More Of This Shit (via @effinbirds)

Everyone is angry.

Look around you. Everyone is angry about something.

It seems like everyone is angry all the time. About anything and everything.

Sure, politics and the state of the world take center stage, but it doesn’t stop there. From big things to little, it seems like everyone is angry and complaining about something.

Anger is the new normal.

The anger around political and societal turmoil has clearly spilled over into the rest of our lives.

And we’re complaining. Boy, are we complaining.

Complaining seems to have become be our primary societal discourse.

It doesn’t matter which side of an argument you’re on — right or left, pro this or pro that, anti something or anti something else — the stream of complaints about “the other side” is never ending. (And lest you think you’re in some righteous majority, realize that there’s just as vocal and vociferous a crowd complaining about you, your actions, and your opinions.)

Spend any time listening to talk radio (again, any slant, any version, any leaning) and what you’ll hear most is complaints. Listen in on restaurant conversations and … complaints. Pay attention to your workplace gossip … more complaining. It’s everywhere.

And yes, I realize that I run the risk of this very post being viewed as nothing more than “complaining about complaining”.

The problem is complaining becomes a habit.

Anger becomes our natural state.

Even for the small stuff.

We react with anger when even the smallest event takes a turn we don’t like. We complain when inconsequential things don’t go the way we expect.

Anger and complaint have become our go-to state and reaction. To just about everything.

Here’s the problem: anger and complaining solve nothing. They may make us feel better for a time — perhaps superior even — but that’s not going to change the subject of our ire. Anger and complaining lead only to more anger and complaining.

What to do instead?

What would be a more constructive response to the issues of the day?

As you’ve probably guessed, complaining ain’t one of them, in my book. And anger … anger needs to lead to action.

If you can take action, take action.

If you can’t take action, or perhaps once you’ve done so (depending on the action), move on to other things.

Or to put it in more stoic terms, reserve your energies for those things in your control. Let all else go.

Write that letter, make that donation, make a change, make a call. If it’s within your power and will to do so, do so. If not, then don’t dwell on it. Move on. Dwelling on it, ruminating on it, complaining about it, serves no one.

In fact, dwelling on it … holding on to your anger … complaining aimlessly .. actually makes things worse.

Anger should not be normal.

Do your part to prevent it from becoming so.

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