Let’s face it. Lots and lots of things can currently incite outrage.
Look at the world. So many dumpster fires, so much fear and hatred and outright cruelty happening. It can be very overwhelming, no matter how far removed from it you may be.
I could list off a whole host of topics here, but what I want to focus on is what YOU get outraged about. What gets you angry, upset, and ready to start flipping tables?
The reason to ask this question is that finding reasons to feel outraged isn’t hard. The question I have is, what good does it do you?
I am not questioning your feeling, per se. But I am questioning why you are feeling it, and how you are allowing it to impact your life.
So, so much of what is going on in the world is way outside of our immediate ability to change it. Elections aren’t available right now, you can’t just text a number to vote a politician out of office, nor can you request a legal investigation across the world.
Of course, these terrible things are going to make you feel outraged. It’s only natural, at least if you have any empathy. But I would caution examining what form it takes, and what good, if any, it can do for you.
The dominoes fall
When it comes to the world at large, there is very little that you can do, at least right here and now. It’s important to be mindful of what is going on, because when the time comes for you to act you need to act. Until that time it’s good to be aware of the outrageousness, but you need to not let it completely derail your whole life.
The thing that ends up happening is that the big outrages then lead to smaller outrages. It’s a kind of domino effect. That big dumpster fire in the world at large causes you to feel outrage, and that in turn draws attention to potential nearer dumpster fires.
What ends up happening is that finding slights in things gets too easy. Where an unfortunate turn of phrase or playful notion is viewed with spite and intentional hurt, this could easily escalate, even when it’s clear that was not the intent at all. Your outrage thus finds new outlets and can override reason.
A friend put an idea out into the world. They chose to do so in a way they thought would be innocuous and playful. However, some people immediately jumped to conclusions and pointed out that it is not.
From one person’s distress, more people began to see their view. Sure, my friend could have chosen a different way to put out that idea…but I think it’s obvious they had no ill intent. Yet the conclusion people have jumped to assumes intent and turns uglier by implying they were not just wrong, but thoughtless and tone-deaf.
Outrage goes a long way. In especial when you can tie it to other issues.
Problems and troubles grow
I am a part of an organization that is having some serious growing pains. They have been around for some time now, but because of changes in society and a need and desire for more inclusivity, buried problems are coming to the surface.
I am in no way defending anyone who has been an obstacle to inclusivity or being divisive. The problem is that in the process of being more mindful of being inclusive and open, some people get hyper-sensitive. They carry what may be an unfortunate turn of phrase or an unintended slight into yet another example of the problematic system.
With the visceral immediacy of social media, people quickly call-out problems and jump to conclusions. Before you know it that quite-possibly mistaken person is shamed for their turn of phrase, and people get angry and outraged and start to opine on the subject. This is outrage culture at its worst.
I am not saying that there are not plenty of things to get outraged about. But when it comes to something like this, where the intent was not bad, why do you jump to the worst-case scenario conclusions?
One answer is because it needs to be stopped in its tracks. When it comes to terrible things, racism, sexism, and any form of intolerance you are not mistaken. But consider the intent before you go on the offensive.
Heaping negativity onto a situation is not going to improve that situation. Expressing outrage through shame offers no resources for improvement, change, or correcting an innocent mistake.
Consider your reactions
I am in no way saying your outrage is not valid. Nor am I saying that you shouldn’t let people know when they do something stupid. But I am saying you need to be more mindful of what your outrage may or may not accomplish.
Stressing yourself out and getting super angry doesn’t give you any means to make changes. All it does it stir the pot and most likely give you further agita.
When you feel outraged by something, before you lash out or react in any way, take a moment to consider your reaction. Will this reaction on your part help or further rile up the situation? Will it allow for more communications or cause more upset and further outrage?
Again, I am not saying that you haven’t a right or reason to feel how you feel. What I am saying, though, is that before you share you should consider what your reaction is, and if it is constructive or destructive.
The last thing we need in the world today is more ways to tear it all apart and knock it all down.
That is why I am suggesting you should consider your reaction, where it may lead, and if it builds or destroys along the way.
This is in no way excusing people from screwing up. But it’s important to acknowledge that they can and will. Before you assume the worst and jump to outrage consider the intent.
As I have written before, your allies are imperfect. But everyone should have allies in the good fights. Being mindful of who they are, even when they screw up, is important. Don’t shame them when they err.
This is not true of intentional matters. If someone is intentionally being an ass or making harmful statements, by all means, be outraged and call them out for it. Please just consider your reactions before you go public. Even when they need to be called out, consider how you can build something better rather than add to ongoing destruction.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, as does how you express outrage.