How are you doing? It’s been a heck of a week…talk about a roller coaster ride.
Aside from continuing to vote and contacting my elected officials, I’m not sure I can do much to fix what’s happening in our country right now. I’ve spent the better part of this past week trying to determine the best way to start a movement to amend the Constitution, and, though my list of ideas for gaining support and attention is getting longer, I don’t see a clear solution. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to try; it just means I’m a little stuck right now.
As a person who has never been interested in politics, I’ve taken more of an interest since the pandemic began, and last week… Well, last week, I was pissed off and feeling the fire that anger lights.
Anger is an effective catalyst for change, providing anger is used in a constructive manner.
Anger can also be dangerous and ineffective. It depends on who is wielding the anger and how that anger is being directed.
Anger also fades, so it’s not a viable long-term solution for enacting change, at least not without a mechanism for renewing the anger.
Further, as a woman, expressing the emotion of anger garners a penalty.
The playing field has never been even. C’est la vie.
I have been channeling my anger into constructive activities such as brainstorming, researching, and writing. Instead of concentrating on what I cannot do, I am doing the things I can.
Two things I can do are educate and encourage.
Here are four insights to contemplate.
First, temporarily dwelling in anger or frustration (or whatever other emotions you might be feeling) can bring clarity regarding values.
Second, clarity regarding values can define a boundary or strengthen that boundary.
Third, we can always work toward change.
Fourth, taking ownership of what we can affect (and releasing ownership over what is outside of our control) is powerful.
When it comes to values, I believe that we have more shared values than not. Though we have had different experiences, I am confident that we each want a better life for ourselves — and those we love — and we don’t want to cause harm. I also believe that we know how powerful it is to take care of ourselves and own our respective exercise journeys.
Using anger as a tool can help you to identify the causes you feel strongly about. Think of anger as a metal detector or a warning light on your car’s instrument panel.
What makes you angry? How does this emotion reveal your values? What can you learn about yourself by exploring the trigger for your anger?
How does feeling this emotion serve or hinder you? Is there a values-aligned action you can take to solve a problem or improve a given situation?
Once you’ve identified and/or clarified your values as a result of exploring your anger (and other emotions), using that information can help you define or strengthen a set of boundaries.
This piece is the fence. Boundaries are the lines you won’t cross.
In society, laws are boundaries that a community has created in order to live together with a shared set of values.
The goal of a boundary is protection. A personal boundary ensures you have the opportunity to take care of yourself and honor your values. Well-defined boundaries provide a guide for staying on the right side of the road and not infringing upon the rights of other drivers, pedestrians, or equestrians.
Just checking to see if you’re paying attention. Still with me?
Change is possible. We change, grow, and evolve as humans.
Regardless of whether anger (or another emotion) has sparked the potential for change, you have a choice.
You can do something, or you can do nothing. Choosing to stick with the status quo is still a choice.
If you are fed up with being tired most days, you can work to get more sleep on a regular basis, exercise consistently, and eat healthy, nourishing food.
Further, change does not have to be driven by anger or frustration. Thoughtful change driven by the pursuit of a positive goal can be just as powerful as change that is driven by the goal of avoiding pain.
Either way, the key here is that you can change.
Change is always an option.
Your ability to change (or not) is improved when you take ownership of your thoughts, actions, and experiences.
Whether we’re talking about fitness, current events, or another topic, if we want to see change, we must own our part in the current situation and be willing to own our actions and results.
Though there are things outside of our control, we can always take a moment to analyze the situation and determine what we can or cannot impact and where we can best direct our energy.
Consider focusing on the things you can affect, taking time to engage in activities to reduce your stress level and bring you joy, and aiming to make things better for yourself and others with the actions you take.