Mad in America

Mad in America

CoffeeIf we are going to make America great again shouldn’t we figure out what is making us so angry? What is really behind all this anger in America?  When you ask people it varies a great deal by demographic, age and political party. For the last 8 years, Republicans were angry about Obama, now Democrats are angry with Trump. Politics aside, everyone seems angry about government overreach, greed, school shootings, terrorism in America and unfair practices which put hard working Americans at a disadvantage. The problem with all this anger is no one is willing to listen to one another without a shouting match.

When you unpack the emotional side of anger you realize it’s just a mask. Anger is a way of dealing with a situation without addressing the feelings behind the emotion. Anger covers up fear, jealousy, frustration and feelings of powerlessness from a given situation. Angry people tend to be poor communicators and worse listeners.

One of the key storylines of our political culture has been the American Dream — the sense that if you work hard, you will get ahead. I know a lot of people who have worked hard their entire life, myself included. If I ask my husband what angers him, it is the notion that he has played by the rules, paying taxes and giving back while others don’t play by the same rules. Deep down we feel a sense of struggle for trying to live out our own personal version of the American dream. 

When you do a google search you can find angry people in all categories. There are the obvious results, “activists outraged,” or “angry conservatives”. But you may be surprised to find “angry vegans,” who are upset over the owners of a chain of plant-based restaurants who have taken to eating meat—on their own farm and their own time. There is a group blaming coffee called “caffeine rage,” where people are angry about coffee, both not having enough and having too much. And here is a strange one, “Angry Knitters” (something about the U.S. Olympic Committee not letting them use the term “knitters’ Olympics,” but people with large needles that can poke your eyes out should be paid attention to.) If we are looking for a culprit, maybe Starbucks is to blame for providing too much access to caffeine.

As we turn the page on a tumultuous year, let’s all try to unite for a common cause, America the great and powerful nation we call home. I have always found by showing people courtesy, respect and dignity you open the channels of communication. We need open channels if we are going to get things accomplished. There is a quote from Martin Luther King which summarizes our conundrum in a positive way. We are all individuals and we can live, work and play in harmony through respect. “If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry,” Martin Luther King once said. “Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.”

Let us be stirred in a positive way and our senses be sharpened for the common good of all.

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, speaker and freelance writer and blogger. She may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com .


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No More Grousing

 

I stumbled across a new movement taking hold on the Internet. Check out this link to learn more about the specifics: Complaint Restraint Project. The initiative was established by Thierry Blancpain and Pieter Pelgrims,  to create a more positive life by eliminating negative statements for 30-days.

“There’s no secret sauce,” the website says. “Simply stop complaining.”

Unfortunately misery just loves company doesn’t it?

I thought I would give it a whirl, so I enlisted some of my inner circle for a team style project. My sister said it sounded interesting but she couldn’t commit to starting until after the 19th of month. Huh? Can it really be that difficult to stop grousing?



Fast Company picked up the battalion and even wrote a post that lists ways to make not complaining a realistic goal: 

Start by defining what a complaint is:

Turns out there is a difference between an observation and a complaint. Maybe I just tend to be very observant in my daily life. Especially when I notice coffee dribbled on the floor or laundry piled up. Perhaps people in my house just aren’t as observant as I am. Is that possible? Or did I just slip back into complaining? Seriously, a complaint brings about a negative undertone and makes the energy drain out of you.

Track how often you complain and what about:

This opens the mindfulness cavern and really gets your brain tuned into how habitually you fall into a pattern of complaining. One morning while watching the news I had 5 slips in a matter of minutes. Yikes, turn the television off, light candle and tune into some spa music.

Don’t engage:

Skip grousing fests and avoid friends who tend to over-grouse.  If you have to attend a meeting or event, try to stay on the fringe or add something positive. Just last week, I opened my mouth to say something and a certain person pounced on me like Tigger in Pooh. The rant of expletives, and “that is the stupidest thing I ever heard,” followed. Ouch!

Use the “but-positive” technique:

We all know this little trick helps you turn a negative into a positive. Another way to phrase things is by turning a “but” into a “get.”  Try turning, I have to pick up the dry cleaning, into, I get to pick up the dry cleaning, which happens to be right across the street from my favorite store. I have to go up north in the middle of a storm… but I get to spend time with my parents.


Just remember, ridding yourself of negativity takes work. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip. Slips happen, just keep trying to find the rainbow in the midst of the storm. I am working on taking the challenge one day at a time. Won’t you join me?

 

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com

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