Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I try to be at peace for my hour-long drive to work. I try not to react to the angry drivers and my co-workers.
Lately, I can’t contain myself and become as contentious as everyone else. I am embarrassed to act this way with my co-workers, though they don’t seem to care.
I dropped my daughter off at school today and I was yelled at for taking too long to hug her good-bye in the drop-off area. I yelled back at the outraged mom. Then the dry-cleaners ranted at me and I shouted back. My banker guy literally gritted his teeth at me for my lengthy transaction. This all happened before I arrived at work. I was so angry that I started crying hysterically.
Why am I and our society so angry? Help!
We agree with you that we need more civility (care, consideration, and courtesy) in our culture.
We can only control our own thoughts – no matter the negative storm we’re experiencing. Purposefully work to add one positive thought or gesture a day, and keep adding to it each morning. Positivity attracts positivity.
Our society seems to have swollen up with passionate self-righteousness and justification in anger against others. But transformation starts with one person at a time.
Strong emotions about issues are understandable, however, we can’t want to be right more than we want to be kind. Values and respect (meaning acting responsibly to others who think differently than we do) need to be taught to our children, first by example.
Opinions are like thumbprints – no one has exactly the same opinions as someone else. We’ve become casual in saying whatever pops into our minds, instead of being careful toward each other.
When anger grows into rage, it’s the precursor to harming others and ourselves. Studies say we don’t feel better when we let ourselves spiral out of control. That’s the big lie. Murder, shootings, suicide, and depression are all rising because of antagonism.
Because we have become a harsh and contentious people, we are easily offended. Let’s not make preemptive attacks based on the anticipation of perceived personal judgments.
The Mayo Clinic’s anger management tips:
- Think before you speak.
2. Calm yourself, before expressing yourself.
3. Exercise and use “physical gestures.”
4. Take a timeout.
5. Identify solutions.
6. Stick with ‘I’ statements.
7. Don’t hold a grudge – forgive – for your sake.
8. Use light humor to release tension.
9. Practice relaxation skills.
10. Seek professional help, if needed.
Anger hurts us mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually … and it destroys societies.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri