Why Should Everyone Be Pissed Off
Why should everyone be pissed off? Take your pick: Corruption, inequality, injustice, manipulation, lies, the possibility of living in the Matrix, assholes at work . . . the list goes on.
Any combination—or all–of these things might upset you, and rightly so. There is no shortage of wrongdoings from which to choose your battles, but there is also tremendous valor in fighting the good fight for something you truly believe in.
When I say “good fight”, though, I don’t mean arguing with strangers on the Internet (even though I know it just takes a quick scroll through your Facebook feed to find something to bring your blood to a raging boil). When I was a kid growing up in the Bay Area punk rock scene, we didn’t need the Internet to get ourselves up in a lather.
We were pissed off about everything: the government, cops, laws, animal rights, teachers, war, society in general, etc. You name it and we had a protest about it. It was an endless parade of opposition and outcry. It became a way of life, and I carried this heavy burden around with me for many years.
Then I reached a point when I realized that being angry all of the time was not serving me any longer. Sure, it still bothers me that there are so many fucked-up things going on in the world today, but to shoulder the weight of combating each and every one of them is to lose sight of your own happiness. You simply cannot be happy if you’re pissed off about something 90% of the time.
So what can un-piss you off? Or, to put it in another way, what can make you happy instead?
The Grant Study–considered one of the longest running studies on human happiness as it has been ongoing to this day since 1937–has followed the lives of hundreds of individuals in hopes of answering that very question. And so far they have come to one overwhelming conclusion. To quote the Associated Press: “After tens of thousands of pages of documentation—and decades of research . . . cited by Dr. Waldinger: ‘The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.“
Good relationships. Period.
Love and relationships are what makes for happier lives. Not engaging in a Twitter war with some stooge that offended you over your remark about time travel. Not climbing the corporate ladder for the corner office and a salary bump. Not even having your name enshrined on the Stanley Cup. Love. Love and relationships are the key to happiness.
Why Am I So Mad All The Time For No Reason?
So the real reason you should be so pissed off is that you are wasting your valuable and finite time on this planet worrying about shit that does not promote your happiness. This is not to say that if you feel very strongly about an injustice in the world that you shouldn’t try to effect change. Like I said, there is tremendous satisfaction in doing the right thing and for the right reason. But if you are constantly engaging yourself in social media warfare, then guess what, Negative Nancy? You’re going to be a giant bummer of a human.
That means there’s one person on whom you can blame most of your pissed-offery: yourself. Just as I am to blame for most of mine –even though my 18-year-old, teen-angst-ridden, punk rock self would be pretty shocked to see me admit that. But the reason I can is because I’ve learned that in general most of us choose way too many battles to fight.
Maybe we think it’s the right thing to do, but what ends up happening is that we get mixed up in brawls that are either not ours to begin with, or that have no real significance in our lives. In this day and age everyone is offended about nearly everything, and we go on social media tirades about them on the daily. This sort of activity is both a massive time suck, and an emotionally draining lost cause.
My advice to you is what has worked for me: 1. learn to choose which battles are actually important, and 2. spend more time on doing things that bring you happiness. (And not the false kind, like that rush of power you might feel from telling someone off on the Internet—but actual, true, peaceful happiness. The real deal.)
So, the next time you find yourself wanting to blast some fool on Facebook about his belief that Ford is better than Chevy, take your damn kid to get an ice cream cone, dance with your wife in the kitchen, or call your mom out of the blue. I’m betting you’ll find that love and relationships make you feel a hell of a lot better than trying to get the last word in an argument with a stranger who won’t change his (wrong) opinion about the space time continuum!
Don’t forget to grab my new book!