There is one message that I am getting from media recently – social media and so called mainstream media – and that is that there is something seriously awry with our communication right now. People are protesting all over the world, becoming violent, allegations of workplace bullying and harassment are increasing (although formal complaints remain steady the informal complaints are growing) and it feels like there are a lot of angry people around.
Recently I read that anger is the shield of fear. Meaning that when we feel afraid of something, the way that we express that is often through anger. If you think about it, showing fear makes us feel even more vulnerable and fearful, and many of us learned in school and at work that to show vulnerability is weakness and weakness is unwelcome. Or uncool.
For me, these two concepts come together to say that when we witness a lot of anger it is perhaps more indicative that there is a lot of fear.
Our human response to fear is far different to the way we respond to anger. Isn’t it?
On the news this week I watched in horror as two groups of people, obviously passionate about their beliefs, sought to lash out at each other with kicks and punches and objects being thrown. Pushing at police officers and police horses who were attempting to keep the warring factions apart.
Now I’m not saying that a hug will fix things. What I am saying is that we might benefit from thinking of other, productive and less harmful ways to express our opinions.
It is true that western countries in particular espouse and protect the right of free speech. The right to hold and express an opinion.
What is also true is that when opinions are expressed, especially on line, they are often responded to with vicious and personal attacks. I read one blog recently where the writer is seriously considering only offering an opinion on “safe” topics such as favorite book or family day out because some recent comments had received personal attacks as responses. What is happening people?