We have a problem and everyone recognizes it, but so far, very few have been willing to do anything about it. We are addicted to outrage.
This is most evident on social media, but it has also infected nearly any platform where Americans get together and try to engage in discourse about our problems.
Are you addicted to outrage? Here are a few signs to look for.
Are you afflicted?
Here are some surefire signs to know if you’re addicted to outrage. Do you sign on to social media to search for stories that you can be upset about? Do you only comment on things that anger you? Do you never share stories that make you smile or made your day better?
You might have a problem.
Do you demand 100% agreement from your friends, family, and acquaintances or threaten to cut them off completely? Do you only seek out others who completely agree with you and never engage thoughtfully and honestly with people who might disagree with you?
You sound like you’re an outrage addict.
So what can you do about it?
Here’s the good news …
If you’re addicted to outrage and you want to change, there are a few simple things you can do to be better.
Try to avoid assuming the worst motivations for people who may disagree with you. It’s very easy to insult your opponents and exaggerate their motivations and intentions. It’s better to honestly address their real objections and motivations. This is how you persuade people to your side instead of using insults to divide us even more.
Don’t you find it far too easy to post a negative comment? And it feels so good to get that aggression out; it’s so cathartic. But if that’s all you do, you habituate yourself into thinking negatively all the time. Instead of seeking out horrible things to be angry at, seek out good things to be grateful for. There’s a lot of good stuff out there!
I am not asking you to moderate your views. Not at all. Have black and white opinions and principles. But in expression and application of those views, have some humility and be kind to people who might disagree with you. Simply avoid those extreme arguments and outraged disagreements. You’ll have a better time over all.
Now that you feel better about making a change and improving the world for the better, let me pop that balloon of positivity I inflated for you.
And now the bad news …
There’s one catch. If you’re the kind of person who recognizes that negativity and outrage-mongering are worsening our national discourse, you are also the kind of person who probably isn’t participating much in all of that stuff.
Another way to put this is that the people who need to cut out the outrage the most are the exact people who who are addicted to it the most. They don’t think they have a problem. They really think this is the way the world is. They probably read the headline to this article, smirked without clicking through to read one word, and responded with an insult to the author in a tweet.
“Well same to you buddy!” is what the author would say to him if he were also addicted to outrage.
Anyway, it’s not gonna change any time soon for the people who really need to change. But no matter what, you can make it better for yourself.
Have a happy and grateful New Year!
Addicted to Outrage: CNN And The Mainstream Media Are Pushing Us To dangerous levels