Sunday, January 3, 2016

Feed the Compassionate Wolf

Wolf fractal by Irina Pechkareva. Public domain.


Are you one of the growing numbers of white people in America that is angry--and more angry than ever before?

From today's Meet the Press:

Nearly half of Americans are angry, and no groups are angrier than whites and Republicans, according to a new NBC News/Survey Monkey/Esquire online poll about outrage in the country.

Overall, 49 percent of Americans said they find themselves feeling angrier now about current events than they were one year ago. Whites are the angriest, with 54 percent saying they have grown more outraged over the past year. That's more than Latinos (43 percent) and African-Americans (33 percent).

Seventy-three percent of whites said they get angry at least once per day, compared with 66 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of blacks.

The poll also found Republicans are angrier than Democrats. Sixty-one percent of Republicans say current events irk them more today than a year ago, compared to 42 percent of Democrats.

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Sadly, anger does ooze from the pages of social media, public speaking,  or letters to the editor. Much of the anger appears rooted in fear.  Henceforth the growing want for weapons and divisive tribal or like-minded alliances.

I would challenge readers and non readers of The Daily Prism to step outside of the gnawing grasp of anger and fear.  Study upon study shows the definitive dead end of harboring those emotions and allowing them to dominate your way of life and way of thinking.

Consider this Native American tale:

Father to son:  "There are two wolves battling in my heart. One wolf is violent and dangerous, the other full of warmth and compassion."

Son to father:  "Which wolf will win?"

Father to son:  "The one I feed."

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Todd Kashdan, Robert Biswas-Diener, suggest in an essay on the Greater Good website

When you’re angry, give yourself permission to pause for a moment, even if someone is standing there awaiting a response. You can even let them know that you are intentionally slowing the situation down. Choose to make good decisions rather than fast ones. When you’re angry, pauses, deep breaths, and moments of reflection more effectively exercise power and control than rapid-fire responses. If you feel less angry when you slow down, great, but that’s not the goal. This is about giving yourself a wider range of options to choose from in an emotionally charged situation.

Think like a chess player. Before deciding on a course of action, imagine how the other person will counter and how the situation might look two moves from now. If it looks good, continue along your present path. If it looks bad, consider an alternative behavior, imagine how they will counter that, and evaluate this scenario. Keep checking in with yourself by asking, “Is my anger helping or hurting the situation?”



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