By Ann Poorboy
Some would say that we are getting angrier as a nation, and that social media is the ’cause. What has happened to us as individuals that has brought about this change?
Since early 2018, if not earlier, it seems as though people are getting meaner. Look at any social media post and you’re bound to find angry comments, name calling and sheer ill will being displayed everywhere. How did we go from a nation AGAINST bullies, to a nation OF bullies?
The increase in mass shootings and violent crime demonstrate a deeper pathological problem in our country, and perhaps globally. You don’t have to look to far to see some of the root causes, it’s the rhetoretic being offered by our politicians, our schools. People are angry about a lot of things and are venting that anger on anyone available, even if that individual has done nothing personally to them.
Most of us have found ourselves caught up in the fervor. So it would benefit us all to know that being mean is bad for your health, your relationships, your finances, and your ability to simply enjoy your life. It is a falsehood that making someone else feel bad will make you feel better. We all know that never works.
Part of the reason is that people are now living lives where they are going through the motions in an almost unconscious state.
There are several human emotional needs that are not being met for most people. These include the need to be significant. Some of us find this at work some at home, some at church, some through political movements. We all want to be important. The problem is we’re going about it all wrong. Instead of tapping into a pioneering, entrepreneurial, adventurous spirit, we instead are trying harder to gain control in a world that seems to be spinning out of it. So we attempt to control everything that crosses our path, including our loved ones. This leads to additional frustration.
So how do we get back to a more civilized and content self? We need to first determine what our special gift is and how we can apply it to something we care about. There should be care with that last sentence. We should be participating in things that WE care about and not what we’re told we SHOULD care about. There’s a distinction there. The key is to find a way to share your gifts with the world. Being famous isn’t important, but feeling like you matter is.
When faced with high levels of toxic energy, deal with it head on. Agree to disagree and remove yourself from the conversation. Be firm but kind, and say what you are feeling, something like “I care about you, so I need to let you know that when you vent at me, you are pushing me away.” If invested in your relationship, the other person will make some changes. If not, you may need to find a way to move on, because no one has the right to abuse you.
If you must deal with someone who has anger issues, here are a few tips to help you have a healthy interaction:
- Don’t ignore them
- Be open to listening to what they have to say
- Keep your voice calm when they’re upset
- Try to talk things through
- Acknowledge their distress, but don’t feel like you have to back down if you disagree
- Avoid pushing advice or opinions on them
- Give them space if they need it
As for the rest of the world, my suggestion is that we act it a manner that promotes civility and a lot more kindness. You can be the difference. Don’t tolerate hostility, and promote peace. Wrap your arms around your loved ones, especially your children, every day, and hug them tightly. Healing starts with awareness. You can make a difference. Start small and help make this a better world for all of us.