I live on a small-holding in West Wales and lock-down has been carefully observed amongst our locals. With restrictions on our lives finally easing, I find that on the occasions I go out these days I am mostly left feeling angry, enraged even!
My anger is not at the Covid-19 virus, the restrictions on my life, the continuous queues or even our Government any longer – I am angry at the general public, my fellow human beings.
We are asked to wear face masks and maintain social distancing – which is not terribly difficult at all in the grand scheme of things. So why do people complain and want to exercise their ‘right’ not to wear a mask? Why do people feel it is OK to treat other people’s homes as their playground and leave their rubbish behind? Why do people feel OK invading my personal space?
Isn’t it positively selfish of them? Surely it is our obligation as a decent human being to think of others and to be kind, considerate and respectful to each other?
But then reflecting further (walking my dogs over the green rolling hills always helps!) I’m struck by the realisation that my feeling angry doesn’t help either. It too easily leads to me treating my fellow human beings as ‘other’ and bad, failing to see our common humanity, just as they are failing to see mine.
Head of Business Operations CharacterScope
Snippet, Reflect, Fix
People high in Self-regulation are good at not allowing themselves to be driven or controlled by their impulses or habits. They also tend to be good at challenging their own assumptions or prejudices about people. It is not the same as denying emotions or impulses – being shut off from emotions – but about not letting them drive behaviour.
A Buddhist precept has it that we should thank our enemies because they are the only ones who can truly teach us what compassion is. It’s a challenging idea. Reflect on what is most likely to trigger you into anger or into losing sight of another person’s humanity.
Create an ‘if-then’ routine for yourself. Which might go something like ‘If I find myself sparked into righteous indignation, then I’ll … (mow the lawn, knit, walk the dog, bake a cake with love in my heart).