In a world full of status updates, videos, tweets and pics shared on social media, there seems to be no shortage of negative statements for us to read, see and hear. On any given day, at any given time, my social media universe can be filled with statements, such as:
"I can't wait for this day to be over!"
"It should be legal to slap stupid people!"
"Democrats are to blame for this country's problems!"
"Republicans are to blame for this country's problems!"
"I hate (insert any person, place, thing, religion or idea here)"
For many people, social media has become a place to share pain, heartache and negativity. It gives a voice to a voiceless mass of people, angry because they feel the world does not listen, respected or love them the way it should. They direct their anger towards any person or group that doesn't agree with their view of the world, casually dismissing another's perspective.
Normally, my Buddhist-loving ways cause my heart to go out to these people. I hear the suffering in their words and wish I could help. It was that same desire to help others that inspired me to start writing my blog. If one person could find comfort in something I shared, it would be worth it.
But even with the understanding that people who post negative things are reaching out from their pain or frustration, sometimes I'll read a post that doesn't create sympathy or compassion in me... it creates anger!
It's true. I get angry. It happens... less than it use to, but it still happens. Even with my "be positive" philosophy, my meditation practice and my "be present" view of being, I still have moments when I get mad.
First off, let me say that anger is a natural emotion that we all have. It isn't wrong to feel anger. It doesn't make you a bad person or less of an awakened being. It simply means that sometimes, some days, something makes you mad.
It's what you do with that anger that is important.
In the past, I always fed the anger. I'd let it grow until it could no longer be contained and then I'd unleash it upon the first person unlucky enough to cross my path. Often that would be the people closest to me, namely my family and friends. What I didn't know at the time was that the anger I felt only served to mask another emotion... sadness.
I felt sad because I didn't think I was worthy of being listened to, being loved or being respected. I saw others as if they were better than I, and my thoughts told me they knew it. When I read, heard or saw something that didn't align with my thinking, I felt as if they were attacking me personally. That made me angry!
My anger wasn't about them and what they said, it was about me and how I felt.
Now, instead of feeding into that anger and letting it grow, I see it for what it truly is. It's an opportunity. It is a chance to learn something about myself that I was not aware of before. It is a chance for personal growth. It is a gift.
When you see, hear or read something that bothers you, makes you angry, upset or frustrated... it is because there is something in you that you have not yet dealt with. The world is a reflection of us. When someone says something that we take offense to, it is because it is striking a nerve deep within us that is still raw and in pain.
Words are only that; words. It is our own thoughts and perspective that place meaning to those words. If the meaning hurts us it is because we carry a pain that is reflected in the words we hear. It is a window to a part of us that we hid away to protect our self from pain.
So when someone does or says something that makes you mad simply stop, take a breath, relax and ask your self, "Why does this hurt me so much?" You may be surprised at the answer you come up with.
When you allow yourself quiet time to reflect on why you generate the feelings you do, you will find the truth behind the person you are. And when you know the person you are, you become free to become the person you've always wanted to be.