My wife thinks stuff bugs me too much. She’s always telling me to calm down about stuff I see on the news but in that General Motors and Toyota thing those guys in suits were letting people drive around in dangerous cars. What are we supposed to do just let them get away with it? How’s anything get better if no one gets mad and changes it?
It says nice things about you that you care about this subject. Empathy for theoretical victims and direct victims alike is an expression of profound connection and compassion. That is how you express love.
You don’t want them to be hurt or taken away from their loved ones. It’s a beautiful motivation so it makes sense you feel slighted when someone tells you not to be passionate about it. You can start feeling good about that fact right now.
The energy you put into this issue is not where the conflict arises. You’re rightfully upset about a culture that would react irresponsible, but that’s manifesting as angry energy focused within your family.
This isn’t to say that you’re being angry at them. But if you’re angry around them it’s the same thing for them –it’s an unpleasant experience seeing someone you care about being upset.
Forget the issue or the labels and words we use to describe it, just think of the experiencing as being more about the energy we give off. Bottom line, no matter how good your intentions are, your family is spending a lot of time with an angry man.
Let’s take that very same positively -intentioned energy and let’s refocus it —get good at this and you will be absolutely amazed at how much energy you can save if you’re moving through life in a clear-headed way.
And if we’re serious, being happy at home can provide the remarkable source of energy needed to focus on taking actual action to change the culture of these companies. It’s not like the people within them are evil. But they keep feeding their families by finding out ways to protect their future and their investors, who are generally groups like pension funds and university endowments. That too is important work.
For the super-passionate, maybe that means going into politics for the right reasons. Maybe that’s helping a politician draft a bill. Maybe that’s by doing a public awareness campaign. Maybe it’s by offering financial support to an affected family. Maybe that’s to raise money for an existing organization that already does one of those things.
Bottom line, you can use the angry energy to create a difference in the world around you, rather than using it to disrupt your family’s dinners.
So here’s your two options: A) You constantly think about –and then likely talk about– injustices you learn about from the news. Your anger and desire for vengeance will boil away in your own blood because, of course, if you tell yourself a story like that then in doing so you’re asking for that brain chemistry.
Think a stressful thought, get a stressful chemical. And that chemical will come to life within your behaviour. So you will express the anger. You won’t be the anger (people say “I’m” angry) but you can express anger around your family. Or…
B) Your second option is to recognize the injustice and then consider your personal and professional skill set. Look for a natural fit in the world around you. Rather than pointlessly churning your own judgments and recriminations, use your thinking to delve into the structures that exist in your culture.
If you feel the need, find a way to actually impact the issues by using your ability to work and create new structures, laws, systems and things. It’s a form of creativity that expands the universe.
Choice “B” allows you to feel like you’re accomplishing something, which feels good. It has a forward activity to it, and it will likely attract other people rather than repel them. That’s a sign that your ego is quiet because your self is expressing itself as a verb-in-motion. It isn’t being angry, it’s taking action.
That forward motion feels good, whereas the churning judgments —as deserving as they might be— are painful for you and your loved ones.
You’ll know which one you chose by how you feel. If you’re angry, you’re pointlessly replaying narratives. If you feel successful and proud and pleased then you’ve accomplishing something.
One feels bad and does nothing good and it makes some things worse. The other does good things and it feels good. I know which one I’d pick.
Don’t put yourself and your family through pointless agony. Free yourself of that habit and focus your energy instead on the kinds of things that you would see as positive, helpful and moral.
Don’t be an angry person. Be the person who changed other people’s lives for the better. Because there’s no award or amount of money that can give you a feeling that great. And all you need to do to achieve that is to give that issue the same energy you used to be using to be angry.
Good deal, eh?
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.