A middle-aged businessman turned paranoid gunman, a postal worker gone berserk, a cell of Islamic terrorists and an Eastern European dictator exploiting cultural hatreds share one horrible commonality: anger so intense that it has become pathologically contagious and can be felt throughout the world.
While anger is certainly nothing new, the dangerously stepped-up emotional virus currently making the rounds should at least end that ridiculous pop-psychology practice of "letting your anger out." It is certainly out there now, upsetting minds, confusing people's ability to tell right from wrong and blocking any mode of action except a destructive one.
Anger should not be confused with an intense concern that motivates one to do something constructive. Whether you are just yelling at someone in an argument or moping about in a depressive funk, anger and its results are always destructive. There is never any justification for being angry, just as there is no justification for slitting your wrists. Anger is that pernicious. It is not only mentally destructive, but it also has been linked to many illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.
Do not fool yourself into thinking that you can be responsibly angry, that you would never lose control and become some kind of monster. Like a person with indigestion who cannot make enough enzymes to break down food into usable morsels, anger slowly prevents you from using, understanding or benefiting from experiences. If you feel uptight, intolerant or impatient, you negate anything positive you could do to make things better.
The cure? First, do not participate in the angers available to you (all of us have plenty of things that could make us angry), and do not pass them on to your children. You care about what they eat, care a little more about what you are feeding their minds. Second, do not be shocked by anyone or any circumstance. Instead of fearing or attacking an uncomfortable person or situation, make your best effort to be helpful. Not only will your stress be relieved sooner, but you also will be able to walk away from the experience knowing things are better for your having been there.
While the powers of hatred and fear destroy, they are themselves destructible by right action and kindness. In our hands, hearts and minds rests the power to change an emotional illness that is pandemic. We can be careless and violent in our response, or we can take every moment of life as an opportunity to be grateful for the ability to choose a more honorable way of interacting.