For most of us, the most powerful sense of meaning comes from doing something that makes us feel as if we’re making a contribution to the world. Making a contribution connects us to our community and our society as a whole, in a way that makes us feel better when we know that there’s something we’ve done to help someone else, particularly when that person is in need. There’s a reason that charity is an integral part of every world religion and most decent societies help other people because it is very clearly, a vital component of life. There are so many ways to make a difference. Last week I was privileged to witness firsthand individuals who give their time and loving kindness to those who have served our country and have returned wounded. The facility for wounded warriors is staffed by extraordinary people who seem to have limitless energy and copious amounts of compassion. So often we get caught up in our own physical or mental pains that our world become incredibly insular. I have been struggling with joint pain that will necessitate two knee replacements. There are times when I rail against the universe as to “why me”? When I heard the stories of men and women, some of whom have suffered incredible trauma, it gave me new perspective on my own issues. My mother’s favorite quote was “ I cried when I had no shoes, till I saw the man with no feet”. Unfortunately, it is easy to forget how lucky we our since it is quite human to be involved with our own pain. One of the ways to sustain feeling fortunate about what life hands us is to find meaning and purpose. When we attach meaning to whatever we do or whatever fate befalls us, life seems to become more spiritual. Many of us become aggravated at the slightest inconveniences, taking time and energy to try to find whose fault it was or why we are always the one the proverbial bird finds to eliminate on. Perhaps taking a moment to stop your internal patter to think about one thing you appreciate about your life will help you reframe the situation. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Barbara WInter“ When you are on the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to fly”.
The other day I asked my face book community why everyone was so angry and I got a great deal of responses. It seems a lot of individuals are concerned over our increased inability to control ourselves. Over the years I have noticed that rage has grown exponentially in almost all areas of American life.
There is road rage, air rage, cyber rage, inner city rage, and a host of other rages that won’t fit into this article. It feels like we are turning into toddlers who can only stamp their feet and demand to have their needs met, no matter how irrational they are. Adult tantrums have become fodder for TV shows. Bridezilla, the Bachelor, and the housewives of every imaginable segment of the population seems to get incredible ratings. We are not only pissed off, we like to watch pissed off people as entertainment. Whatever happened to keeping a handle on your emotions? Everything I have read about becoming an evolved individual has maintained that humility, compassion, civility, and kindness are the foundation of a decent human being. It appears that many have forgotten the golden rule. “Do onto others’ as you would have them do unto you”. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to keep the public glued to their sets. Is it a sense of entitlement that has fostered this new paradigm? Do we have so little disregard for others that we can only focus on ourselves? I pose the question, because I believe as a nation we need to have some dialogue about what I consider to be a very serious problem.
Perhaps, we can start by examining our personal circle, i.e. family, friends and ourselves. Maybe you are becoming used to the impatience, incivility and aggression that is becoming so much a part of daily life. Take some time to notice if this is the case. If you sense you are part of the problem step back and take a good look at yourself. When you feel yourself getting enraged, try instead to engage.
Engage your rational mind, by asking yourself “what’s the point of this outburst”? Not much of what we consider to be a crisis is. If you find it difficult to maintain calmness and you actually get off on being hyper vigilante, then you may want to go to medical school and become an emergency room physician. At least you’ll be doing something useful!