What Makes Me Angry? – LYL Start-A-Blog Challenge – Day 2

Okay, so I’m doing this LYL blog challenge. I’m trying another way to force myself to write.

LYL (Live Your Legend) was set up by Scott Dinsmore who tragically died a few months ago. I actually only learnt about LYL as a result of his death.  His wife, Chelsea, is amazing – incredibly strong, really inspiring.  Scott’s written some fantastic content that I’m slowly getting through.  This “Blog Challenge” was set by Chelsea who’s been recently finding solace and strength in reading Scott’s words and journal.

Part of today’s challenge involves posting about it on Facebook.  Bear with me on that one!  [UPDATE I’ve technically done this now albeit privately…].I don’t think most people I know would be very supportive.  I find it easier to tweet and technically post things to the whole world than I do anything on Facebook. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe because the chances of anyone finding this article is pretty low, or because I won’t know them.

Maybe it’s about rejection? To be honest, I’d be pretty embarrassed. Scared I guess – that people would think I’m an idiot, even though I am a self-confessed one anyway. Which got me thinking, what is embarrassment exactly? According to Google, it’s a feeling of self-consciousness, shame or awkwardness.  Brene Brown distinguishes it from feeling humiliated based on whether you feel that you deserve it (humiliation), or don’t deserve it (embarrassment). Or maybe it’s a lack of confidence or feeling of self worth?

Anyway, I digress.  Whatever it is, I’m working on it, and I don’t have all night. So, let’s go, the first “writing prompt” is: “what really makes you angry about the world”.

To be honest, I’ve spent most of my life being angry and frustrated by stuff.  It’s taken a long time for me to calm the fuck down!

Most of the chillingoutedness happened at a result of having a seriously peaceful boyfriend. In over a decade together, I’ve still only seen him get really angry a handful of times.  Although his laid backness drives me up the wall, it’s also what I LOVE about him.  I think meditation has also made a massive difference. That’s all in stark contrast to how I grew up.  There were – are – lots of angry people in my family. It took years of living in far more chilled surroundings to draw it out of me. Or maybe I just mellowed as I got older. Who knows.

I no longer tend to dwell on what upsets me, I try not to anyway. I still get angry, but I try not to let it consume me. Lucius was right, anger really is

an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Life’s too short to be angry.

Thinking about it – there are loads of stuff I could be angry about today.  An unfriendly colleague, idiots I interact with, the terrorists that massacred a load of innocent people in Paris, Israelis killing Palestinians, Palestinians killing Israelis, the Daily Mail, racism, sexism, human trafficking, censorship, child abuse, death, cancer, domestic violence, drug gangs, poverty, hunger, politics, atomic bombs, religion, atheism, cruelty, Peppa Pig, Salad Fingers, it’s all seriously fucked up. Especially Salad Fingers, have you seen Salad Fingers? It is seriously disturbing!

I used to read the papers voraciously. I was an expert on world affairs. My general knowledge from 1995 to 2005 was pretty amazing!  Since 2010, there’s not much there.  The notion of not keeping up with current developments and politics used to be anathema to me. I thought it was socially irresponsible to not “keep on top” of what was going on in the world.  That was until I read the 4HWW.  Tim Ferriss presented the notion of a current affairs fast. After all, how much of what you actually read/watch/listen to in the news has a positive effect on your day to day life?  Not just yours, but the life of whoever you are reading about too. Tim had a point.

I read about the time you save by cutting out reading news headlines and dutifully gave it a go.  I was sold.

Five years on, and I still seem to hear about all the big and important events. When I do, I often follow up with a lot more focused reading.  I’m just not a fan of mindlessly consuming the front page of BBC News five times a day, or the Guardian, Al Jazeera, CNN, the Metro or the Evening Standard.

Actually, now I think it’s socially irresponsible to do that.  Everyone has an agenda, not least the news crews and publications who are manipulating whatever “news” they can find to encourage you to “tune in later”.  Sensationalism and fear is the name of the game. Not only have I more time and energy to spend on far worthier pursuits now, I’m a lot less stressed. A lot less depressed.

I can easily scare myself senseless by watching the news. Reading about an imminent terrorist attack on London, about refugee crises, plane crashes, a myriad injustices.  Sure, it’s good to be aware.  You might be able to do something about it.  If you’re a politician, have stocks you want to move, are an activist, give to charities…

When it comes to crime and terrorism, I understand that it’s good to be vigilant. But apart from moving to live in the middle of nowhere, there’s not much I can do about it.  Scaring myself is not going to help. It’s going to raise my cortisol levels, my blood pressure, and probably won’t help me sleep. Will it change what I do on a day to day level? Emmm, no. I’m going to be continuing like I usually do. I can point out what I think or what I believe, but getting angry and upset about things I can’t change doesn’t help.

I also believe that the really dangerous and mind blowing things in life can’t be predicted. The massive earthquakes, the plane crashes, the terrorist attacks, the freak accidents, the revolutions, the heart attacks, being diagnosed with cancer, the black swans.  Despite the warnings, they can strike at any time, they’re often unpredicatable.  Wrong place, wrong time – there’s not that much you can have done about it. Worrying wouldn’t have helped.

There’s not much good in getting angry. Far better to use that energy in a positive way, focus on the good that you can do.  Appreciate the time you have now.  Anger clouds the mind.  It’s hard to think clearly, to make good decisions. People say and do things they regret in anger.

I was recently asked in an interview “so what makes you angry”. It wasn’t my finest hour… Four years ago, I was sharp and on point when it came to answering questions. This time I felt like a babbling buffoon on LSD.  A peace loving out of touch hippie.  I’ve been travelling too long man.  I was talking randomly, my head felt pink and fluffy.  I can’t remember what I said, something along the lines, of “nothing really” before launching into a tirade about negative people at work who complain incessantly.  I know, I know. You shouldn’t talk about anything negative in an interview, I get it! I guess I was trying to be myself, hell if they don’t want me, I don’t want them and all that….!

But, to be fair, this really pisses me off! For lots of reasons!

I’ve worked and put up with some crazily negative people who made everyone’s lives worse, in work and out. Everyone has their own battles, and work/life is tough enough.  We really don’t need the people around us making things harder than they need to be.

You can look at the world through an insidiously apocalyptic dark glass, or through a clear one that will let you see and appreciate the beauty and wonder in the world, the love and the kindness.

I know some people can be chronically depressed, I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the bitter, angry ones that seem to find unhappiness everywhere – man, they need to lighten up!

Most people I know, who complain about their jobs/partners/bodies/cars/handbags/hair, are free to change them. Sure it’s difficult and takes a bit of effort, but it isn’t rocket science.  The things in life which justify time spent complaining,  for most of us in the western world at least, are the exception, not the rule.  Don’t like your job?  Don’t have enough money?  Suck it up or do something about it. I guess that frustrates me.  People who say one thing, but don’t walk the talk. The ones that are too scared, or lack any kind of desire or drive to do anything with their lives. Apart from boring everyone they know with the same old stories of “woe”.

I know – I can be a harsh bitch sometimes!

This kind of thing does anger me though. Part of it is because I hate insincerity. I’m also not impressed by the lack of regard and selfishness it shows others.

And also, because I know many who have died young. They were good people. I wasn’t uber close to any of them, but they were friends. They all had so much potential.  I feel really lucky to be alive. Maybe even a bit guilty when I think about these guys. Because they’re not here, they’re gone.  But I also feel a powerful amount of gratitude and determination to make the most of my life as a result.  I feel like I owe that to them.  I have the chance to live. My friends don’t. I don’t want to waste my life, least of all by feeling sorry about myself, or by getting angry.

Also, “they”, those critters at work, I lectured my interviewers…the ones who moan all the time, they aren’t grateful!

Life is luxuriously good here in central London. We have drinking tap water and the NHS. Trust me, most people have nothing to really complain about.  They need to travel, see how people live with nothing. That’ll show them!

Negative people can vacuum life out of you. I know what they’re like – I used to be one! I guess that’s part of the reason I’m so hard on toxic people like that. I believe they can change, because I’ve done it myself.

I was brought up in an environment where it seemed wrong to be happy.  Talk to my grandmother now, and it’s the same. I love her, but it’s funny talking to her sometimes.  It’s been like this for as long as I can remember. There’s always a focus on how dreadful something is or could be.  Anything positive gets brushed under the carpet while she rapidly points out the negative or moves onto the next “catastrophe”. Recently, we were having what I thought was a pretty grand time.  There was tea, biscuits, interesting chit chat – what more could you want, right? That was until an auntie phoned, and my gran launched an Oscar winning performance of how dreadful her life was right then. I was shocked! Nain – where did that come from?!

Even good things that happen to other friends/family members aren’t looked upon kindly, there’s a snarky sense of jealousy or bitterness there. A perverse sense of pleasure in setbacks that effect others, an inability to share the joy of the people we say we love, a need to gossip or bitch which seems alien to me. I’m no angel, but I have no desire to go back to what I used to be.

I’m sure there are lots of psychological reasons for why people are like this. Issues they have themselves, cries for attention, habitual conditioning, fear, jealousy, unhappiness? Maybe it’s about values? Whatever.

So complaining about things momentarily bonds you to whoever has the same beef, but it rarely makes anyone feel better or has any positive affect on your life.

In my experience, droning on about anything, tends to just get me worked up. That’s the other thing I hate about negativity, it’s ability to hijack your time, and the difficulty in stopping. Which reminds me, I think that’s enough

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