Overreaction – Religion and Politics

Kurt's Religion and Politics

I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, it would be pretty ridiculous for me to walk up to another person, pull a handgun, and fire multiple shots into that individual because of something they were wearing.

I can’t speak to whether it’s still true, I suppose it is, but this is actually a fairly common thing among certain groups of folks. It’s certainly true that wearing, for example, the wrong bandanna or even the wrong color, in certain neighborhoods could easily get one killed or seriously injured.

You can be sure this is an extreme example of overreaction. There are, as one might expect, a huge variety of instances in which less severe outcomes can be anticpated as a result of people typically jumping to conclusions and taking actions based on the results with which they ended up.

I’ve spoken about some of these in previous blog posts; one example is this one titled Bad Information.

Sometimes though, what you thought initially happened, is what actually did occur. It’s even a possibility that things were potentially worse than they initially seemed.

In cases where you’re mistaken, when you overreact, what you do is especially egregious, since you didn’t have a clear picture of the facts, and respond regardless that lack of clarity.

Even when you’re solidly aware of what transpired though, there’s a possibility that without really considering the potential ramifications of what you do, you may respond in ways that are almost as bad as when you were lacking data and still chose to act.

The fact is, a couple of things often happen, and neither is good.

When people are presented with circumstances they’ve never seen or dealt with before, there’s a tendency to not have even considered what’s correct and proper in dealing with those scenarios.

Since we live in a society where people expect to dish out almost immediate retaliation for things done or even said. Many will act in ways that are seriously out of whack when compared to the action to which they’re responding.

The other thing, is that when some folks are made aware certain things have occurred, there will be a tendency to become angry. What people will do when upset, particularly if they’re not accustomed to dealing with stressful or disconcerting situations, can be horribly improper.

Both results point to one thing, the need to stop where possible, and carefully weigh how you’ll respond to a perceived wrong.

The hard part is being able to be clear when one must respond hurriedly. You should know that, as a person with a bit of experience, I’ve learned except in circumstances where harm is going to come to another or myself, it’s almost never a good thing to act in haste.

Doing so may result in no problem at all. Then again, it may result in absolutely horrendous outcomes.

What may make that more devastating is, because you can act badly and many times the result isn’t an issue, when it is, it’s more shocking to both you and others.

It’s for this reason that I express concern.

In my youth I have to admit, I was a hot headed individual. I let myself be baited into some situations I never should’ve allowed myself to get even close to.

I also came to be in the middle day-to-day events that frustrated me to degrees I never should have allowed them to.

The thing is, I still get upset when similar events happen, but these days, how I respond, is entirely different than I did when I was younger.

I was fortunate, I really never suffered any serious consequences as a result of responses in anger.

Others I knew were not nearly so lucky. Even among those I was around, the results were not terribly bad when they exploded over little to nothing.

That said, there are far too many examples of people who’s lives were beset—at least for a time, and some forever—with tragedy.

I know it can be hard to keep one’s anger in check. I know that most of the time, not doing so, will likely result in at worst, mildly bad things happening. Do you really want to roll the dice only to find out that you’re that one in however many, for whom life is irrevocably changed forever?

For my part, I have no such desire.

Frankly, even well thought out courses of action, periodically result in unexpected closures. Yes, even when you plan carefully, you may find that what you expected to see as an end, is in no wise what you received.

That’s why I’ve made it my business, to work to ensure my reactions match (or sometimes are less than) the circumstances that cause them to come to be.

Maybe you’ll go the rest of your life, acting impulsively, with responses that’re far from what they ought to be if you really understand the circumstances that cause you to act as you do. Then again, you may not be so lucky. Is that really a chance you want to take?

Trust me when I tell you, I still often want to lash out at times. Believe me when I say, I understand wanting to hurt someone for something that might’ve even been unintentional.

I must—we must—seek to bridle the emotion that we so strongly wish to act upon.

I can’t say what will happen in the future, but for me the battle is one that has not ended up to now. Were I to speculate, I would assume it never will.

It’s hard, being calm when you want to erupt. If it were easy, so many people like me that came before, wouldn’t have dealt with things they now rue.

I’m not saying you should necessarily “count to ten” before you take action (as maybe your mother or father told you was wisdom). Then again, I’m not saying it’s a bad plan either. One way or another, we must seek to ensure we don’t make matters worse than they are already, by overreacting to that which occurs around us.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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