A Few Words from Paul: Anger

It seems like so many people these days are angry. I mean like seriously angry.

I have always had a difficult connection with that emotion. When I was growing up, I never saw my parents angry with each other and, what’s somewhat hard to believe I know, angry at me or my brother. I know that I am in the minority or at least I would guess I am. Perhaps that is why I have grown up to see so little need for the emotion.

Maybe because I never learned how to handle anger.

This month we held a training event for the facilitators of our Institute program. It is an amazing event where over 100 people come together to catch up, work on getting better at facilitating, and learn about any changes to the curriculum. This past event we also hoped that they would challenge each other in ways hard to do outside of that environment because we believe they can. They have the ability to challenge with care in order to learn something new.

As a part of our agenda, we showed a video of children expressing how anger feels to them and what makes them angry. Children mind you. Not adults who have lived some more years and may have experiences that lead to their anger, but kids. Their answer was to take a deep breath.

I think we all need to take a collective deep breath.

Yes, we face many difficult conversations and choices daily. Yes, we think our view of the world is the view of the world. I’m just wondering what does anger solve when that takes over those conversations, choices, and world views.

What good comes from being angry? Really?

We say things we don’t mean. We push ourselves into corners or arguments that have no possibility of learning or dialogue. We hurt each other. All in the name of what? Demonstrating that we know more than others? That we care more? I’m pretty sure that those times when I have been angry, the emotion is met with more anger. Then starts the fun spiral that only stops when we run out of steam, time, or Kleenex.

Where is the space to argue passionately without getting angry? How do we know where the line is when disagreement becomes anger at someone or some group? What the hell are we doing to each other? A fan beats up another fan because their team lost. A person shoots someone because they cut them off on the highway. You know the stories. They are all over the place.

I have no answer. I have no solution. I am just wondering out loud what to do about it.

Maybe we need to slow down. Maybe we need to be less critical. Maybe we need to quit thinking that social media gives us a license to say anything and everything to anyone.

I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. All I do know is that it feels like it is becoming worse and worse.

So I think I will take a breath and keep working to understand.

Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, soon-to-be-husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog. 


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