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. This is your way of loving people. You don’t want them to be hurt or taken away from their loved ones. It’s a beautiful motivation so you can start feeling good about that fact right now.
Next, the energy you put into this issue is not the problem, it’s the aim. You’re a little willy-nilly with your gun there, Angry. You’re trying to shoot the legs out from under a culture that would react the way GM did, but that’s manifesting as angry energy focused on your family. Not saying that you’re being angry at them. But if you’re angry around them it’s the same thing. The issue isn’t the labels and words we use, it’s the energy we give off. Your family is spending a lot of time with an angry man.
So let’s take that very same energy and focus it—and trust me; get good at this and you will be absolutely amazed at how much energy you can have if you’re moving in a clear-headed way. Take that remarkable source of energy and focus it on taking actual action to change the culture of these companies (who like all businesses are all functioning under the same pressure to constantly cut costs). Maybe that means going into politics. 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 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. 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, be they legal or social or medical or whatever, and find a way to actually impact the issue by using your ability to work and create new structures, laws, systems and things.
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. The forward motion feels good, whereas the churning judgments—as appropriate 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’re 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? You’re welcome. 😉
Choose yourself a great day.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.