Less Rage

I find myself wondering, this morning, how we can begin to reduce the amount of anger in the world. The snap responses and rage seem to appear and re-escalate every attempt to defuse and begin to heal our cultural divides.

And I realize as I write these words, that the only possible answer is to start with myself. Where else can I get a toe-hold?

I learned in Judo and Jiu Jitsu – in my body, because my mind wasn’t ready for it – to stop waiting for the other person to do some thing that I wanted, and instead to always consider “how can I adjust -myself- to improve the situation?”

So I’m doing that now.

I’m going to try to be as kind as I can today – to everybody – whether or not they “deserve” it, without checking to see if we agree on the issues of the day, and without expecting anything in return. I’m going to try to turn down my own rage, and to turn down my tendency to trigger other people into rage.

This doesn’t mean yielding on my beliefs or assenting to horrible things. I will continue to speak up for the change I think we need to see in society.

I’m just going to try to be kind as I do it, and if I can – to elicit kindness in return. To everybody. No exceptions.

I know that many of the people who read these words already do this, every day. For that, thank you. You are helping. You are an inspiration.

I know that many of the people who read these words are in a place where nothing other than rage is possible, even for a short time. I know how that is. I’ve had a ferocious temper … really strong emotional responses … my whole life. Rage is strength. Rage lets you endure the un-endurable.

I know that I will not be perfect at this. I’ve made this decision countless times before. I will try and fail and try again and hopefully improve over time.

My reward, I hope, will be to live in a world with slightly less rage and anger. That’s what I want. I want that for you too.

I’m sharing because, I think that there may be some people who may read these words who might be in a similar place to me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the truth of what I was taught year over year by mentors and teachers … that people are actually much more similar than we are different.

So if you’re reading this, and if you’re in a place where you can choose to be kind, without giving up your strength and commitment to justice, equity, and all the rest, then I want to invite you:Let’s be kind together.

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