In this day and age, it is far too easy to gloss over hurting someone by getting angry about it and blaming something or somebody else. It’s even easier to be angry about something that somebody did to you. It seems as though anger is our “go to” emotion. We get mad at other drivers, we get mad at politicians, we get mad at our bosses. There are probably as many reasons for the anger as there are angry people. Some of those reasons may even be justified, though I’m less and less sure of that as time goes by.
You see, anger, at least as practiced in modern society, is a reactive force. Usually a negative one, dividing families, communities, and nations. Somebody does something to hurt us, sometimes purposely, sometimes not, and we react to it by getting angry. Over time, this reaction becomes habitual, our default setting for any slight, real or imagined.
Here’s the thing. We learned this behavior, maybe as a kid or a young adult. So we can unlearn it, too. We can take responsibility for our lives, and begin to be Creative instead of reactive. Because changing the world begins with changing ourselves. As much as we think those “other people” caused all of our troubles, nine times out of ten, the “others” may not even be aware that they’ve done anything wrong. And at some point in our lives, WE are those “other people” for someone else. That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?
I’ve learned recently that many of our behaviors are the result of our brain’s evolution not keeping up with the changes in our society. We’re still worried about being eaten by a saber tooth tiger! We’re much too frightened of dangers that don’t exist for most of us any more. So our brain reacts to things with a fight or flight response. We get scared, and that makes us mad. But we can’t or won’t say we’re scared. We’re worried about money, we get mad at somebody else about it. We’re worried that our country is falling apart, we get angry at the politicians. Even when we’re worried about getting to work on time, we get mad at everybody that’s in your way. Fear, then anger. Fear, then anger. And always at the “other” person or thing. But it’s us.
I’m not talking about fault or blame. I’m talking about responsibility. Our responsibility, yours and mine. I’m talking about changing how you create with any given situation. And the first step is to create with a sense of Unconditional Love.
Let me get one thing straight here. I’m not saying we are to take on the blame for every situation. Nor are we to ignore that something happened. What I’m saying is that we have the opportunity to approach all of that with a different attitude. Instead of fear and anger, we can approach a situation with Love, Peace, & Compassion. I’ve written often about Dr. King’s take on Loving your enemies. That’s the kind of Love I’m talking about. “The understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all…” I can only speak for myself when I say that’s a pretty tall order. But it’s in that kind of radical change in ourselves that we change the world.
So how do we do that?
For me, it all begins with realizing that we are all connected right down to the atomic level. If we’re all the same “star stuff”, as Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson have said, then you begin to realize that those “other people” may not be so different from you. They are no better or no worse than you are. And all those differences that we make so much ado about? Usually those come not from “truth” but from Mythology that’s passed down through the ages. “THOSE people are ___________”, because such-and-such happened 100 years ago. It’s a reaction passed down from Great Granpa or Granma or Dad or Mom. It’s a thought that came to be so deeply believed that it colored everything we experienced. It was “real”. But only because we said it was.
After you get through worrying over the differences between us, then you can begin to see where change can be made in your own Personal Mythology. Because it’s our own stuff we need to change first. Not because we’re “bad”, but because, oddly enough, when we are able to change, we change how we see the world. Maybe that thing that made us so angry just isn’t a big deal anymore. Or that change has allowed us to let go of any hurt in our lives. That’s happened to me more than once.
As we change the way we see the world and everyone in it, the things that seemed so important at one time now seem less so. Or more likely, Loving the world Unconditionally has made you one of those “other people” that are changing the world one person at a time. That one person is you.
REMEMBER – I AM changing my world by opening myself to Unconditional Love.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by The Season of Nonviolence
Peace, Grace, & Love,