I’ve been really angry lately. It seems like everything irritates me. No, that’s not really accurate. I haven’t been bothered by the weather that varies from dark blustery winds and rain to “sun breaks” (brief appearances by the sun in the Pacific Northwest) or that keeps the temperature moving between the low 30’s and high 50’s (°F). I haven’t been mad at the dog – our 11 year old “grand-pup” who we are fortunate enough to have during most workdays. She gets me out walking and is a sweet companion.
I’ve been mad at people, particularly people with leadership and organizational responsibilities. I am angry at folks that posture to promote themselves while concerns of the members or citizens remain unresponded to. I’m angry at people of means and power who rant and snark at the struggles of the people with less. I’m angry at people who say, “Let me know your concerns and how I can help,” then discount the pleas with, “That’s not really a problem. You are not doing enough to help yourself.” I have felt surrounded by these people recently in my organizations and in our government.
When leadership focuses on serving its members and citizens, the connections between people grow and good things happen. Needed change arises out of the inquiry, assessment, analysis, action, and evaluation. The organization stays viable. When leaders see their positions only as opportunities to build personal power and status, the organization becomes stagnant and starts depriving the membership of sustenance and belonging.
What does this have to do with health? Everything. Health comes from balance.
If we were struggling for our very survival- literally the threat of death, perhaps these responses would be appropriate. I’m not saying survival isn’t important. But most of the issues today aren’t about threatening the physical survival of the leaders or the groups they represent. Most of our organizational and political issues are about promoting a personal belief system, maintaining status in power and comfort, or feeding personal pride. We have lost sight of promoting healthy systems of cooperation, collaboration, inclusion, and caring for the whole instead of the special interest.
I have been discouraged by my response to all this, because I want to retreat rather than fight for change. I used to be a crusader. Now I want to just escape it all; to get away from the rhetoric, the blaming, the name-calling, and self-righteous attacks on others. I’m not sure what to do. I know it isn’t healthy for me to carry this anger around. I want to release it but I don’t want to ignore what is happening. I’m not asking for no conflict. I’m asking for openness, honesty, and true assessment of options as people address conflict. I feel like, as my mother used to say, “ I might as well be asking for the moon.”
At this point, I intend to continue to take the actions I believe will lead to improvement. I intend to behave consistently with my beliefs and goals. I will strive for generosity in how I view others and their beliefs and goals. I will breathe more deeply. I will take my grand-pup on more walks. I will not eat to calm my anger. (- 42)
Remember, this forum is not intended to be therapy. I have no way to view your body language, hear your tone of voice, or see if your words and your displayed emotions are matching. These are essential to effective communication and great tools for the therapist (and for the consumer when reversed.) I will attempt to be as helpful as I can. I will refer you the best I can to needed services. Even though I will not be your therapist, I am a health care professional bound by law and ethics to act to protect persons from harm. I am required to report my concerns of harm to self or others, and suspected abuse of children and vulnerable adults. I am located and providing these services in Washington State.
Again, I am open to communicating directly with you here. If you have questions or concerns, please leave a comment. I will attempt to address the content if I can.