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Monday, 27 June 2016

Why are we all so angry?

As a trainer, I constantly and calmly assure people that "there is no such thing as a stupid question" - because that is what I believe. So please don't be angry with me for asking it.

Maybe it's not a stupid question or an obvious answer...

I don't want to use my precious but inconsistent blog to make any form of political statement about the Referendum and so will try to keep my thoughts and feelings about it to myself - and I have plenty! But my over-arching feeling as we start a new week and try to focus on the business at hand is to consider how much anger there is around me - and I am frightened by it.

For example, on a personal level, I have been with friends and family since Friday and experienced anger replacing love in conversations and relationships at close quarters and in many different forms.
On my various social media feeds, people are being rude to other people, shouting them down and offering public humiliation as a solution to a shared problem (or opportunity, depending on your view). The precious generation of my children is very angry with my generation and blaming the Baby-Boomers for all ills.

At a bigger level, we are angry with our Government, the politicians are angry with each other,
we are angry with Brussels and the whole world seems to be angry with us. Scotland is angry, London is angry...

Now the anger is being expressed as racism and becoming more overt, with graffiti on the Polish Centre in Hammersmith, reports of nasty notes being popped through people's letterboxes and my heart is weeping for what we might become and things that might be done to other people to harm them in covert and overt ways.

If I an frightened, then what must it be like for people who are not in my incredibly privileged position?

As always, when people are frightened and upset, there is a strong defensive reaction to resort to blame - it's a normal psychological and physiological chain of events. Don't get me wrong - am I angry? HELL YES! Furious is a word lacking strength for my inner feelings, but it's not about me and I am coming to realise this as I grapple to gain some learning out of the mess that I find myself in.

When anger and fear become directed at concepts, ideas, countries and groups, it become polarised and divisive. More significantly it becomes de-humanised and terrible things generally follow as a consequence. That frightens me, and in case you don't know me - I don't scare easily!

So, my plea for today is, as you go about your daily life and notice yourself acting or thinking in anger or about to blame someone else, try and notice it and replace it for something less toxic. Be kind to someone instead of being angry and in some small way, we might be able to unite to build a better world.

And if you have a role as a leader - then get out there and lead your socks off - it's what we all need right now.