Impotent Rage

Is there any other kind?

Doesn’t all rage originate from feelings of powerlessness?

Think about the times in your life when you’ve felt really, really angry. Were you angry because someone disrespected you, because you felt helpless, taken advantage of, bullied, deceived? Is there anything more frustrating than being put into an unpleasant situation that you cannot change or control in any way? (I know we’re supposed to learn to “let go” in situations like this, but I still struggle with this – and I think a lot of other people do too.)

When we lose our feelings of personal empowerment, everything seems hopeless. That’s when we feel trapped, stymied, stuck. There’s a reason why “air rage” happens – people get tired of sitting on a runway for five hours waiting to take off, or being trapped in a cabin with no leg room. “Road rage” happens when someone else’s stupid driving endangers your life or wastes your time – leaving you feeling powerless. Don’t you think most people would be more polite to call center employees if they didn’t have to wait on hold listening to insipid music for 15 minutes while being asked to re-enter their account information seven times along the way?

Anger and rage and negative feelings are part of the human condition. But every day, companies should look for ways to empower their customers and employees. No one likes to feel trapped and powerless. (And as for me, I’m going to keep working on learning to let go…)

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