Stop, Look, And Breathe
IT MAY BE THE HOLIDAY SEASON WITH LOADS OF HO! HO! HO! and your basic good cheer all around, but it seems to me that there are still a bunch of angry people walking around out there. Seriously angry people. Fearful people.
They are angry about a variety of things – some of which are worth being angry about, but so many of these people are worked into a lather about things that are not worth the effort. If you were to stop and ask these folks what it is that has their dander up, most of them could tell you, but a fair portion might be hard put to put their finger on it. They are angry to be sure, but it is a rather non-specific anger. It is like they’ve shot off their arrow even though they couldn’t clearly see the target.
For those people who have an identifiable target for their anger and fear they at least have something they can rationally act upon. Either that or they will drive themselves and everyone around them bonkers. Nothing is more unpleasant than to be around someone who is really ticked off about something, but doesn’t do anything except talk about it all the time. As they say, “Talk is cheap.” If your house is on fire don’t just make a speech about it – grab a fire extinguisher and do something about it.
Right now I see the Social Media filled with those people – arguing back and forth with others who are just as angry and just as wordy.
I refuse to get into that wading pool.
I do read some of their rhetorical tennis volleys and, honestly, very few of them make sense to me. All sides scream at each other, supporting their words with rumors, misinformation, and just plain nonsense. Here are people, many of whom are well educated, and well read, but who are also emotionally behaving like toddlers in the supermarket, throwing tantrums in the candy aisle.
There is no way I’m stepping into the middle of that. I just hope that someday, in some way, they find a resolution to their anger. They have to do something or it will eat them alive. If they don’t they’ll end up sitting alone in the movies because no one will want to be with them.
I’m an old geezer who knows that drifting anger. I remember the time when I was stretched out on a gurney with chest pains. I was only 30 years old then and felt that things were out of control, beyond my control. Those were dark days – lonely days. Sad days.
It’s hard to “Take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them,” if you don’t know what it is you’re up against. To deal with this kind of anger it is a well aimed inaction that can help to calm the waters. Some quiet time away from the panic and frenzy that feeds the anger is what is needed. Even if it is only a few minutes.
So many of the people I see on the streets with scowls on their faces are dealing with that targetless anger. If they could just get the chance to take a fearless breath things would be better for them. I wish I knew how to make that happen for each of them.
I make no pretense to offer clinical advice or diagnoses. I’m just a guy who looks at the world around him and comments on what he sees passing in front of his eyeballs.
My hope is that all of these angers are resolved and put on the emotional shelf to be used sparingly and only when truly merited.
This is the Christmas Season and it seems to me that it is a perfect time to stop and take a breath. Let the endless clamor and din pass by and take a few minutes to sit quietly and think about all of the good things in this world. They’re out there, covered up and obscured by anger and fear, but out there nonetheless.
Smile at the scowling face on the street. It might be me. I promise to smile back at you.