With 24/7 access to each news story, current event, and 140 character thought that pops into just about anyone’s head, there are ample opportunities for us to get upset over things.
While there are certainly events that justify being upset, the culture of constant outrage we live in, especially that which exists over the internet, desensitizes us to real problems and renders us less capable of finding productive solutions. Immediately becoming incensed by what you read and hear but not actually doing anything about the problems which incense you changes nothing for the better.
True outrage spurs action
The disclaimer here is that I’m not talking about people who are actually doing something. If you’re out taking care of those you feel are being mistreated, working a job that allows you to engage in making improvements, or coordinating fundraising efforts for the causes you are most passionate about, then you’re placing your outrage appropriately. This is certainly not a comprehensive list of ways you can help to better society, but the point is that active engagement is necessary in order to make a difference, and it doesn’t come from simply being outraged over everything.
Active engagement is necessary in order to make a difference.
Sure, it may start with some discontent or outrage over something in particular, but getting outraged over everything isn’t really practical and doesn’t allow you to actually change the things that bother you. Whether you want to admit it or not, reposting an article on Facebook or linking a post on your Instagram story does NOT make you a warrior of whatever cause you’re invested in. Engaging in productive discourse about controversial subjects is important and certainly has its place, but it is not to be confused with or given the moral equivalence of acting on the discontent you feel to enact positive and lasting change.
Whether you want to admit it or not, reposting an article on Facebook or linking a post on your Instagram story does NOT make you a warrior of whatever cause you’re invested in.
Understanding beyond an initial emotional reaction
Being truly outraged by something necessitates having a depth of understanding regarding the topic. Often the entirety of an issue is much more complex and requires a depth of knowledge beyond your initial emotional reaction, no matter how well-intentioned. It’s far too easy to glance at a headline and be upset by the supposedly unbiased spin a news outlet may put on a story. Even if you do make it through a whole article, there is often history and an amount of background knowledge pertinent to the topic far greater than what you’re seeing.
Although we live in an age with unlimited access to information, we don’t often do the due diligence of thoroughly researching and informing ourselves of both sides or the overall context of a given topic that is needed to paint a complete picture. I know many times I’ve certainly been guilty of being outraged over something, only to find myself misinformed or entirely ignorant of some necessary information that maybe didn’t negate my outrage, but certainly changed the intensity of my original, emotionally driven reaction.
Although we live in an age with unlimited access to information, we don’t often do the due diligence of thoroughly researching and informing ourselves.
Problem solving takes specific time and effort
Being outraged by everything doesn’t really allow you to hone in on exactly what you feel truly passionate about and where you can actually impact some change. The issues that people are so often enraged by are complex and require much more than emotion to be solved. Specific skills and experience are necessary for solving problems, and what is needed to better one issue is going to be entirely different than the skills and tools needed to fix another. When you’re just allowing yourself to be upset by everything you’re neither cultivating nor applying a skill set that is required to fix issues; your outrage alone isn’t enough to equip you with the tools necessary to fix all of the issues you are upset over.
Rather than just being upset over everything and flooding social media with your knee jerk responses, perhaps it would be better to truly assess which issues, and by which issues I mean which one or two issues you are most bothered by, educate yourself thoroughly on those issue, and then work towards ways you can contribute to fixing the problem through your unique skill sets. Intentionally cultivating skills or making legitimate attempts to solve problems is a much more viable and worthwhile response than simply letting your emotions get the best of you.