“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is not a post about tony Dungy or Michael Sam. This is a post about anger.
As the Tony Dungy/Michael Sam drama continued to unfold its ugly self square into our laps, I pondered the implications of what Mr. Dungy said and meant. My thoughts drifted to people. Real people. Actual human beings who could and would be affected by the words of a stranger. These innocuous thoughts started to drift toward anger. As I am prone to doing, I reached out to one of my favorite sounding boards, Mr. Welte. We discussed such things as this topic, religion, love, compassion, etc. The anger started to subside. I began to think more clearly.
Pretty boring, eh? I got upset over something that, big picture, isn’t a big deal. I talked it out. I felt better. The end.
What if my anger had spilled over? What if I had continued to let it cloud my judgment? What if I had written a nasty blog post and attacked people via other forms of social media? And for what? Because I don’t agree with Tony Dungy? Who cares?
The point is, we often allow our emotions to control how we react. When that occurs with negative emotions, it generally provides negative results. Things seem to happen so quickly anymore, and that has lent itself to us reacting more quickly. We have immediate sources of news and immediate outlets with which to tell everyone within screen-shot that things and people are stupid. We comment angrily on things and regularly fail to listen fully or with any context. Mostly, though, we fail in general to take any amount of time to consider and reflect.
What if we waited a second to hear the other side of the story before we erupted? What if we internalized that other people have varying viewpoints and that it’s okay to disagree? What if we were compassionate enough to read other people’s emotions and use that as a point to back off and take a more compassionate route? What if we were okay with being wrong from time to time? What if we had the intestinal fortitude to not only know we were wrong, but took the time to admit it?
As long as we have the ability and the anonymity of the internet to lose our minds all over people for what we consider to be righteous causes, a part of us will always be willing to react to anything we read with emotion. This is not limited to the internet, of course. We react emotionally to people in interpersonal situations as well. Remember the guy that you flipped off in traffic earlier? What about that last little tiff with your sig-o? (That’s right: sig-o. I stand by it.) Could those situations be handled better with a cooler head prevailing?
In any situation that has potential for high emotion, we should remember to take the time to calm the hell down and find some perspective.
Have an awesome Tuesday,
P.S. – Bonus points for anyone who catches the music reference in the post title – without Googling!
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