I have written about conflict before. The above video is exactly what I said in those articles. So many people out there are looking for conflict. They want to start a fight. They feel miserable about themselves and wish to spread it all around. I run into these people all of the time. Angry people who just wish to be angry, and create more anger. By refusing to rise to the bait, but also not rolling over and being terrified of the situation he found himself in, Rev. Wade Watts eventually turned an Angry Young Man into a better, calmer, wiser Older Man.
This isn’t easy for most of us. We are angry about something: a situation, something in our past, a relationship, anything really. And the fact that we are up at 3 am grocery shopping for a hungry family or a drunk roommate and all that is open are the Self check-outs and they won’t allow you to buy alcohol, so the only attendant has to take the alcohol from you because some state law that you didn’t know about says that you can’t buy alcohol between 12 am and 7 am, it all just sends you into a rage. Is it really going to make it all better if the attendant yells back into your face? Or would it be better, if they took a step back and said that they understood your frustration and why don’t you step over here and they will check you out and it’s only 4 hours to 7 am, that isn’t too bad is it? Maybe your roommate will be passed out when you get home.
Not everyone can diffuse an argument, but that is because they don’t always know how or they are also emotionally compromised. And it is indeed important to be angry if that is how you feel but it is also important to be able to keep that anger in proportion to the way other people feel. Understanding this is part of the Reverend’s response Jonny Lee Clary. You can’t let other people’s vitriol infect you. You have to understand your own emotional state at the time and theirs as well. And then know how you will react while in that emotional state. If you know these things, and understand just how much of this matters to any interaction or conflict, then you can do what the Reverend did.
Anger just isn’t worth the energy it takes.