Yesterday I watched the news as they recounted the Capitol building being breached. I listened to the people in the crowd call for something to be done, that something had been stolen from them, for violence. It was like watching another level of my confidence in humanity being peeled back. And as I felt the feelings of sadness, anxiety, and shock wash over me I felt something else creeping in too, anger.
Outwardly I balked that this "small" group of people had lost their minds. I tried to convince myself that they are the rare few extremists. Yet over the last few years I can no longer feel confident in that ideal. I have witnessed the blatant racism and acts of violence. I have seen the swarms of people turn out to cause damage and chaos. It is not one side or the other because the violence has come from all around. We are in a war even without giving it the name.
Why are people so angry? I could list a hundred reasons from at least three or four viewpoints. But only one matters. The only anger that matters is my own. If we dealt with what was causing our individual anger then we would have made great leaps to ending the violence and starting a productive step toward solutions. Anger is a great call to action. But it DOES NOT need to be a call to violence. It needs to be a call to look within.
Anger is often the result of fear or a feeling of lack of respect (a lack of being heard). Perhaps even in saying that I am repeating myself because isn't the feeling of lack of respect the fear of not being respected, not being equal, not being acknowledged?
When I felt my anger creeping in yesterday I can't say I was surprised. I am not knew to this sadness moving to anger or fear moving to anger transition. I do not like to feel afraid. I do not like to question my beliefs, especially one so core as people being mostly good. (Though I do realize the duality the word "good" creates") I do not like to hear about someone being harmed, bullied, or killed by another person.
Yet anger is not what solves the problem. Anger is just to get our OWN attention. It is then our job to look at that anger and make an action plan. This action plan is not one of violence, not of insults, not of retaliation. It is a plan to decipher what we need to feel at peace and what channels to go about making these changes happen legitimately and to bring understanding.
We will not get World peace by pointing the finger. We will not get World peace by judging, accusing, and belittling. Peace comes in understanding. Peace comes in compassion. Peace comes in love.
If you do only one thing this year, let it be seeking to understand your own triggers. Take the time to look at your anger and see what the root cause is and then start open talks about it. Be willing to hear the whole conversation. Be willing to readdress any anger that keeps popping up. Be willing to be the change. We only change the world by starting with ourselves.
I'm grateful to witness my anger. I'm grateful to see how one trigger can make other much lesser triggers more exposed. I'm grateful to know the things that feel like they are seething today are really the root of something much deeper that was triggered yesterday, and the last several years. I'm grateful to take time to breathe. I'm grateful to take time over and over again today to sit with these feelings and dig into the full scope of its roots. I'm grateful to know that we all have the choice to be kind and loving. I'm grateful to believe people want change and are willing to do so with their voices if they are given the opportunity. I'm grateful to ground and reground today so I can continue to make my own choices based in love.
What makes you angry? What fears does it bring up? How do you respond when a core belief is shaken? How do you respond when you are not in control of something? How can you dig into the root of your feelings this year? How can you offer space to hear someone else?
May today remind us change starts within. May we find ways to give ourself a green light to flush old fears that are no longer our truth. May we heal old wounds so we can continue moving forward in love. May this year bring positive change and a chance for all voices to be heard without violence. Have a beautiful day!