All of us have witnessed an exchange where someone has been really mad about something and another person says the inevitable phrase; "I don't see why you're so upset over this."
I rarely get mad. I am not mad now, so don't think that's what this post is about. I, and many other people get accused of being mad when in fact we are not a lot on the internet because people can't hear how things are said. I have mentioned before there is an odd perception on the internet to think in extremes. People seem to sometimes forget there are other emotions between really happy and really angry when they read in black and white.
But when people do get genuinely mad, why are they mad? Think for a moment about the last time you got mad. What made you mad? Why were you angry about that particular thing?
Lets take a hypothetical situation for a moment. Suppose you get up and you're reading the newspaper over coffee. You read that 9 homes have been burglarized this week by someone who breaks in at night while the occupants are sleeping and robs them. As you read the article you have a flash of compassion for the people who were robbed. You feel bad that they lost their stuff, think to yourself that you hope the cops catch the guy soon, then turn to the sports page and continue reading without giving it much more thought.
20 minutes later your dear sweet elderly Mother calls and says she was one of the people who were robbed. You are outraged, you hope your Mother is ok, you fear for her safety, you want to know WHY the police haven't hunted this character down yet. How dare he go around breaking into innocent people's homes and making them feel violated. You are mad at the theif, you're mad at the police, you're mad because you feel helpless to do anything about the situation, you're mad in general!
So what changed? The answer is obvious right? It's because it became personal. But why is it personal? It's because you care about your Mother. It's not that you didn't care about the other people when you read about it, but you don't know them. So to a degree you're apathetic because it's hard to put a lot of effort or emotion into something that you have no concept of or doesn't relate to you in some way.
I have found that when people get mad as a rule they aren't getting mad just to cause a big drama. Sure I suppose a few individuals feed off of the limelight in that way, but for most of us we don't put emotion over something out there unless it means a great deal to us.
You get mad at family members when they do something you percieve as harmful to themselves or others, you want that person to be the very best and safest they can be because you love them. You get mad about job related issues because you want to succeed in business and you want the business as a whole to succeed. Anger stems from fear and caring.
The next time you see someone getting mad about something, maybe the best course of action would be to pause for a moment and think about what their motivation is. If they are mad at you, don't retaliate. Don't try to get even. Just think about it, try to help them. Because ultimately they may be trying to help you.