If you’ve followed my blog thus far, you know I draw from all sorts of inspiration that I encounter in my path. Sometimes it’s nature, sometimes it’s clients, and sometimes it seems to just drop out of thin air. The one thing (I hope) it all has in common is the pause it creates to take a look at things from a different (read: not better, or worse) perspective.
That being said, I had an encounter on Facebook last weekend that left me feeling disheartened. It was all shared in “personal” space, so I am not going to get into the details of it.
On this occasion I felt compelled to chime in on behalf of a silent victim. (Yes, victim, because she was being attacked.) In doing so, I offered a different perspective, and suggested that this event was an opportunity for those who felt angry to examine what was going on underneath the anger.
In my experience, anger is the externalized expression of something internal.
It makes sense that if you’re angry at someone (especially if that person is totally unknown to you personally), there’s something going on inside that you can now begin to explore and address.
I also shared that I had a different perspective on the event itself and that I didn’t feel anger. In fact, I felt good about it on some level and couldn’t understand why so many people were outraged over somebody’s word choice over their divorce.
Ok, so the cat is out of the proverbial bag now. I’m talking about Gwyneth Paltrow’s use of the term “conscious uncoupling” when referring to her break-up with her husband. To me, there was nothing wrong with that. In fact, I thought it was a lot right. Nowhere in her statement did I feel she was holding herself above others (me). Nowhere did I assume she was making a statement that other divorces were unconscious (mine). I heard her statement for what she said: she was breaking up with her husband, and they were fully engaged in their decision.
I offered this opinion on Facebook, when others were expressing anger and frustration at her words. It seemed there were a lot of assumptions being made on things she did not actually say. There were accusations and implications, and frankly, I felt it was time to offer a different perspective. So I did.
I wrote three primary comments sharing my opinion. It was in my third comment, though, in which I expressed my thoughts about it being a wonderful opportunity (“a gift”) for others to look at their anger and see what was going on underneath. I suggested this could be healthy and beneficial for those who were struggling with a stranger’s words and experiencing anger and feelings of inadequacy as a result. The response I received was initially argumentative and then rather dismissive. (The sarcasm wasn’t lost on me.)
So, why am I writing about it? Because
1) it disheartened me to see that it’s easier (too easy?) for others to point fingers and hurl insults and blame onto a stranger than it is for them to reflect inwardly and possibly see that this isn’t about the stranger on the internet, but about the person in the mirror. Of course it’s ok to be angry if it’s how you feel, but then look at the reason why, rather than blaming and villainizing someone else; and
2) it saddened me to realize how hard it is for others to hear a different perspective, when it doesn’t fit into their script or identity paradigm.
All that being said, I genuinely hope that my few small words will trickle in somewhere and pop up when they’re least expected, allowing those who are angry and hurt to begin to use this as an opportunity to explore healing on a different level.
Gwyneth’s words may not be the ones you would choose, but as a great teacher once said (albeit slightly modified): who among you has chosen perfectly? xo
To know that anger begets anger and doesn’t serve to help anyone.
And that if we want to grow and learn, it’s important to take perspective. The personal path we walk may be different than our neighbor’s, but they’re both equally valid.