Are you angry about Election 2016? Have all the debates–between the candidates on TV, coworkers at the water cooler, your family members & friends at dinner, and social media contacts/celebrities—made you want to throw the nearest potted plant at the television/ overturn the water cooler/ stick a fork in someone’s eye/ permanently disconnect your Internet service? Are you sick of all the online and real-life arguing, complaining anger, angst, division, strife, contention?(I could go on. Here is the Thesaurus entry for “disturbing”. ) Have you just had it up to here, Here, HERE and HERE with negativity?
If so, this post is for you… But only if you want to stop the insanity.
[If you secretly enjoy the complaining about all the drama, stop reading now. If arguing gives you a little thrill, stop reading now. If spouting commentary makes you feel smart and self-righteous, stop reading now. Seriously, STOP.]
For the rest of us– I have an idea:
I propose we get even more angry.
I propose we get ANGRY ENOUGH TO DO GOOD.
Last week I got trapped in an elevator with a stranger who forced his political opinions on me for 114 floors. (It might have only been 11, but it felt like 114.)When I got off the elevator I was so angry about the verbal assault that I wasn’t feeling particularly chatty when an older gentleman noticed the yoga mat in my bag.
“I’ve always wanted to try me some yoga,” he said, “but I never did ’cause I never had a mat.”
Still bothered by the sneer on Elevator Dude’s face, I was angry enough that I had to do something. Usually, my something would have been calling a friend to vent, or complaining about the encounter on social media. But not that day. That day I decided I was angry enough to do good.
I looked at my mat. I looked at the man.
I decided I was angry enough to give away my yoga mat.
I told the man, “Why don’t you take this one?” He was shocked and–once I convinced him I was serious– absolutely delighted. He gave me the most beautifully wrinkled grin: the kind of smile that was the exact polar opposite of Elevator Dude. The kind of smile that melted my heart and all my anger.
This encounter showed me anger isn’t inherently good or bad, it just IS. Anger is energy. Very powerful energy. And if I could take the wildly explosive, tremendously combustible energy of my anger, and turn it into good… couldn’t everyone?
What if we could harness our collective angry energy and use it for good?
What if we could turn our complaining into caring, our arguing into listening, our drama into doing?
What if we could take that lit match of our anger and use it to start a wildfire of kindness?
Change doesn’t have to be as drastic to make a difference: Every time we hear an insult hurled, we can make a point to say a kind word to the next person we see. Each time we are disgusted by a statement, we can encourage a friend in need.When people groups we care about are discounted or dismissed, we can reach out to volunteer on their behalf.
If an issue makes our blood boil, we can look around for the nearest person to smile at, and then promptly go find a way to help:
Angry about education? Find a place to teach an adult to read.
Angry about immigration? Look for a local charity that helps foreign families.
Angry about healthcare? Ask if an elderly neighbor needs a ride to the doctor.
Really, really, REALLY angry? Turn around and buy coffee for a stranger. Donate to a local charity that makes our community better. Take the kids to the park for an extra hour. Write a note of love and put it in a partner’s bag.
And if you happen to end up trapped in an elevator with a self-appointed political evangelist? Give away your yoga mat.
If you’re going to be angry about Election 2016, GET ANGRY ENOUGH TO DO GOOD.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For daily inspiration & ideas follow Reba Riley, author of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: One Woman’s Desperate, Funny, Healing Journey To Explore 30 Religions By Her 30th Birthday on Facebook Twitter Instagram.
And starting November 1st, take the #GratefulToGood Challenge to make gratitude and kindness go viral this November.