As I grow older, I start to realize how much I didn’t see as a child. Rose-colored glasses, blinders – whatever you want to call it. Yeah, it’s a natural process. You get older, you’re perspective changes, and you start seeing parts of the world you didn’t see before.
I don’t know about you, but I was a fairly happy child in many ways. Even when down about myself, I tended to see the best of others. Lately, I’ve begun to see the worst. More and more. The worst of the world: cancer, senseless deaths, mass prejudice, mass selfishness. The worst of family: prejudice, abusive behaviors, conflicts, indifference. A total contrast to the beautiful impression of the world and my family from my childhood.
The problem is that I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s overwhelming. There’s so much bad. So much wrong. There’s too much. And too much that’s out of my control. I can’t fix it all. I don’t know if I can fix any of it. It makes me feel helpless.
I don’t like feeling helpless. It immobilizes me and makes me want to curl up and cry. It’s easier to be angry.
I’ve been angry a lot lately. Cops attack people. People verbally attack all cops because of the action of some. People take advantage of each other. People cut off their family over matters of opinion. It all makes me angry.
The only problem with anger is that it cuts off empathy. It means I ignore the reasons behind the behavior. It means that I can only consider right and wrong answers. It means that there is no middle ground. That means I can’t compromise. I’m not interested in listening. I’m not interested in empathizing. You’re wrong. I’m right. End of story.
And that’s how the problems that make me angry started in the first place.
Anger is too easy. Worse, it feeds all the problems that made me angry. It helps them grow. Anger keeps us from compromising. Anger keeps us from trying to understand each other. Because understanding is hard. It hurts. It’s easier to be angry.
That doesn’t make it good.