There are many little moments in this life that take us by ransom. Before we’ve actually realised, we’re there; in out-of-control land. And suddenly we have more to deal with than we reckoned possible.
This is one thing we don’t ever count on when we decide to get upset, disappointed, angry, hurt... emotional for a cause. In that flash we surrender to the idea to become involved—whether for personal, interpersonal or values-based reasons—and at the very same time we surrender our emotional control and through the vortex of irrationality we go.
It needn’t bother us so. We can still stand up and be counted on these issues without throwing our emotional control out the window.
Some Things are Bound to Upset Us
There are things in life that we’re supposed to be upset by. These are the things we’ll grieve, including the loss of loved ones, important relationships, and some missed opportunities, for instance. It is innate, and appropriate, for us to feel these ways. If we didn’t grieve we’d be set for a path of inner destruction, for grieving is but a process or manner of adjusting to new life circumstances.
Notwithstanding circumstances of genuine grief—and these truly occur more than we realise, most often on smaller scales—getting upset by things can only diminish our capacity to live this life effectively.
The Balance in Mature Perspective
We will probably already know that we are so uniquely ‘wired’ in this life that even our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers are poles different in response to many life things than we are. And if family members are different like this, what makes us think other people will think, react or respond like we will?
Flip this thinking on its head. Try enjoying the thought that you are the respondent, and to something totally beyond your values or belief-set—even something abhorrent to you. In a moment you’re all in a tizz... and the person or issue you’re upset with often doesn’t even know!
They and we are different people. That’s all. They might even feel abhorrent about something we’d decide is a good thing. Morality and reason, for people, are not defined absolutes.
Agreeing to Disagree
We’re not called to agree with everyone in this life, but one thing we’re called toward is the maturity of attitude in the context of living with other people.
This is the state of agreeing to disagree. This is not about disagreeing so much verbally with people or issues, it’s more having the stance of holding divergent ideas in mind and heart and these often at great tension with each other. Still, we can value them as human beings loved by God.
What we’re really talking about is acceptance.
A Salient Example from Childhood
To leave off on this is perhaps our best way. I recall giving my kids permission—and even encouraged them to this end—to cry when they were genuinely hurt, physically or emotionally. But children often cry and develop tantrums from not getting their own way.
This latter thing is my point. What truly do we get upset over?
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.