To say that I am frustrated would be an understatement.
This past weekend, my city, the place that I call home, fell victim to another senseless act of pure evil. George Floyd was arrested by a police officer for what was reported to be a counterfeit $20 bill, was thrown to the ground on his stomach, suffocated, and died.
Now, as the community gathers and protests, I am watching my city ignite in flames nearly 2,000 miles away feeling more frustrated than ever.
A Right Way and A Wrong Way
With any frustration that we experience, there is always going to be a right way to manage it, and there is going to be a wrong way. Unfortunately, the people of Minneapolis are following suit of the initial act of evil and are protesting in the wrong way. At least in my opinion.
Buildings are being destroyed, businesses are being demolished, and while all of these are replaceable and/or repairable, how about the innocent lives that are in jeopardy as a result of more evil transpiring?
For me, the tipping-point came where individuals were throwing bricks off of bridges at cars on the freeway below – cars containing innocent lives. What if someone you knew was in one of those cars? What if it was your wife? What if it was your husband? What if it was your kid? How would you feel?
No, I have never had to experience racism or any type of social injustice as being a white man. While I can’t say I know what it feels like, I can only imagine the pain and anger that is bottled up. But that doesn’t give anybody the right to burn down a city that is home to nearly 400,000 souls, 99% of whom are some of the nicest individuals you will ever meet.
There is a right way and a wrong way to make our voices heard, and this simply isn’t it.
How to Deal With Frustration
Apparently I am not managing my frustration as well either as I am on edge and feel as though I might snap at any given moment. But in times of frustration, I am sitting here asking myself what good snapping at those around me is going to do.
I’m not saying to mask your emotions and act as though nothing is happening. We all know that never works well. But if you are going to show your frustration, do so in a way that isn’t going to negatively impact the lives of those around you, or even worse, put innocent lives in danger.
It’s hard to know what to do. I am sitting here trying to keep my composure as best as I can. While everybody is going to have a different answer, here’s what I am trying to do in an effort to deal with frustration.
1. Voice your thoughts in a respectful way.
In this situation, I am having a difficult time in saying that the past is the past and that we should let it go. This is one of those instances where we shouldn’t let it go. The past happened, and we need to make our voices heard to prevent it from happening again in the future. All lives matter regardless of race, religion, sex, or age.
At the same time, the burning of buildings, the looting of businesses, and the violence that is erupting are inexcusable. Don’t act as though nothing is happening as masking your thoughts is never a good idea, but do so in a respectful way.
2. Control what you can control.
Our job is not to control every aspect of our lives or force our way through life. Our job is to adapt to the ever-changing world around us as best as we can while, again, doing so in a respectful and appropriate manner.
Not all situations are controllable. There are just some things in life that are going to happen whether we like it or not. The best thing you can do is to control what you can control and be the best person you can be.
3. Turn off the damn news.
I had to do it and I strongly encourage you to do the same. I live in Minneapolis, which is the heart of the media attention right now. In looking at the media, they are only showing the bad as that’s what is selling the headlines.
They are not showing the community coming together and cleaning up the mess from the destruction. They are not showing individuals of all races coming together, connecting as one, and protesting in a peaceful manner. They are only showing the negatives, the tragic outcomes, and the pain.
For the record, what you are seeing is not an accurate reflection of Minneapolis or its’ citizens. You are only seeing the small percentage of destructive individuals because that’s all that news media outlets care about.
4. Let your actions speak louder than words.
Change. Know your values, hold your values close, and let your voice be heard. But no matter what, make sure your actions are reflective of what you are trying to bring awareness to.
Whether it’s mental health, social justice, bullying, or anything for that matter, make sure your actions speak louder than words.
If you want peace, don’t go out and destroy a city and a community that is home to many others who also want peace. If you want to stop bullying, don’t bully others. If you want to end the stigma behind mental health, don’t judge others for their feelings or where they are at internally. Seek and be the change you wish to see. Not just through your words, but through your actions as well.
Before You Go
We are experience frustration in life. Some days are going to be better than others, and there are going to be other days where you just want to stay in bed and sleep the day away or let out all of your frustration.
I guess it comes down to knowing yourself and knowing what you want. If you want to feel better about the various circumstances you are experiencing, whether they are relatively big or small circumstances, know what you want in life and shift your actions and emotions to be reflective of that image.