What am I supposed to be angry at?

Growing up in a very christian conservative household throughout my life has done wonders for my patience and empathy. Throughout my childhood, and even to this day, if you were to ever walk into my house the first thing you’d notice is the distinct lack of anything that would indicate its inhabitants are capable of being happy.  In the morning, I was awoken by the sound of Rush Limbaugh and in the evening I was serenaded by the angry rants of Mark Levin as my family ate dinner. Everyone in my family had a cloud of discontent over their heads at all times, and my parents thought that expressing feelings of righteous indignation was the best way to rally people to a cause. Basically, it was a difficult setting to be happy in. Now I am not a victim of this living arrangement, more that I am a product of it. I contributed to the overall general unhappiness of the place as much as anybody else in my family did, but over the years I’ve come to grow out of it.

It was a slow process. High school had a lot to do with the overall change in my attitude. Going in I was viciously opinionated to the point of being belligerent. I had a close knit group of friends who tolerated me and I was otherwise viewed as that really cynical kid who was a dick to people who disagreed with him. I’m not proud of how I acted. At some point during my sophomore year, I realized that I was discontent to the point where I couldn’t feel happy. Not only could I not feel happy, but I couldn’t feel anything else.  The only thing I felt was a heavy weight in my chest that made itself comfortable and is still there to this day. So I decided to make a change.

I would like to take a moment to state that battling depression on your own is something I would never advise. If you are reading this and you feel that you may be depressed, please seek help from someone you trust. If you’d rather talk anonymously, 7 Cups of Tea is a great place to find an ear. The reason I advise seeking help is because for my entire high school career I tried to go it alone. I was going to improve myself. I was going to make myself better. Sadly, depression doesn’t work that way and it was made incredibly obvious through my general attitude and level of academic achievement. However, at some point during my senior year it seemed to lessen. It lifted from me like a lead fog. I was better. I felt great. I adopted a better attitude, my philosophical views changed significantly, and I became much happier.

Since then, I have been taking medication and a healthy dose of not being pissed off all the time. That’s the part that completely baffles me. The most beneficial thing I learned in high school was that being angry, or contempt filled all of the time is such a mental burden. I found that even forcing myself to view things in a lighter slant greatly effected my mindset. I’m not saying its the cure to depression, after all I’m on medication. I’m just saying that simply not getting angry or offended over every little thing can do wonders for your overall mental outlook. This doesn’t just apply to depression, but to life in general. Coming from a home like mine, I’ve seen first hand what a state of 24/7 outrage can do to your life.

Being staunch conservatives, my parents made a point to hate anything they deemed to be “liberal.” I have nothing against the conservative viewpoint, nor do I the liberal viewpoint. I disagree with both, but I don’t hate either side. What I do hate is how they encourage taking sides and this whole us-vs-them mentality. I’m not writing this as a political rant. This attitude is prevalent in every ideological circle in society. You either agree, or you completely disagree. You are either with us or against us. You are either human, or we dehumanize you. Its this act of tearing away someone’s humanity simply because they disagree that I just don’t understand.

Even when I subscribed to that idea I didn’t understand it. Back then it was all about assuring yourself that you were right, and making sure the other side knew it. Now I just hope I’m right, and let everyone know that I don’t really care what they view as right. Everyone has their own opinion, their own worldview. Everyone has their own reasons for believing the things they do. Some reasons are frivolous, and some are deeply personal. As long as people hold those beliefs peacefully without negatively affecting others,  who are we to question them? In the end, everybody thinks they’re doing the right thing.

Just take a moment to be happy.