I've been thinking a lot about anger this week.
Well, to be honest, I've been angry quite a lot this week. I was angry as a teenager, but I think I've actually grown up to be quite even-tempered. It might sometimes appear to be otherwise, but I loathe conflict and will go well out of my way to avoid it.
But this week has nearly broken me. I'm angry and ashamed at the state of my own country. It's bad enough that a majority of people voted in the referendum to leave the EU, but what's happened since then has been just awful. Most depressing has been the rise of racism and the plummeting descent of national debate into the gutter. This hasn't come completely out of the blue, and we had a taste of this in the last General Election, but watching people hurling abuse and hatred and suspicion at refugees and also at the people who dare to show them an ounce of compassion has been depressing in the extreme. 52% of voters in the referendum voted to leave the EU, but that doesn't make the other 48% traitors or remove their right to speak up.
Ugh. I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.
But, you know what? This is no good.
John Lydon famously said that "Anger is an energy", and maybe it is, but it's not a positive energy. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received is to try to worry about the things that you can control. I find this incredibly helpful when thinking about my health in particular, but maybe that's something I might be wise to try and apply here too. I can't change the result of the referendum. I tried debating with people who were thinking of voting leave, and essentially nothing that I said was ever going to change their minds. I was wasting my time. I'm not sure that anything I say now is likely to change anything either. It might upset and annoy me that people feel this way, and I find it very hard to understand, but getting angry about it doesn't help anyone... and it definitely doesn't help me, because it just makes me feel impotent.
Buddha apparently said "holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die".
I think maybe he's right.
Why don't we try just being kind to people? I'm not asking you to be reasonable in the face of someone idiot racist calling you a traitorous bremoaner, but you can just be a little nicer to the people around you... whether that be at home, at work, on the bus or wherever. I'm going to give it a try. It can't hurt, can it? I want to try and do something positive, because I'm sick and tired of all the anger and all the negativity. I can be in control of that.
...although, it's so hard because they are *such* arseholes.