For those of you diehard fans in theUSAwho are glued to the TV to watch college basketball, this is the month called “March Madness” when the cream of the crop is crowned the best in theUSA. This editorial, though, is not about the basketball end of the term but focuses on the “mad” portion instead.
Isn’t it a pleasure to wake up, retrieve your morning paper and then sit to begin the process of your early morning routine? “The headlines … weren’t they the same yesterday?” you think. “Well, let’s see what CNN has to say that might help me start my day. Yep, it’s really the same news that I saw yesterday except there’s a different reporter using different words to describe the mess we’re in.” The news shows, talk shows, celebrity interview shows … all send the same clearly interpretable message: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” New words grace our dictionaries like “rageaholic” and “anger addiction.” It seems that we’ve reached a new level in our society that distinguishes our “madness” as being something that is quite acceptable.
Admittedly, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook when the world … and I mean the global world … is falling down around our shoulders. It’s not only difficult but at times it seems nigh impossible to do so. There doesn’t seem to be any safe haven from the 40% loss that you took on your 401K or the fact that you’re paying more for your mortgage than your home is worth. To add to the confusion, the government comes out with a plan to “save the world” that you really don’t understand one bit of and the more they try to explain it, the more confused, bewildered, fearful and angry you become.
So, what’s the answer? Is there any answer? I’m not really sure there’s an answer right now since we may have to wait a few months or years to find out how this all plays out. However, in the short-run, the issue may not be our searching for an answer as much as it is about making a choice. Let’s face it, we’ve spent more than we’ve earned via credit cards, we haven’t saved, we Americans believe that we can “have it all” and we’re finding out that those clichés aren’t really true … or real for that matter. I guess it’s time to admit that we’ve made some mistakes over the years … big mistakes … that have resulted in our having to pay the grim reaper. It’s time to ‘fess up, to come clean with ourselves … to purge ourselves of the guilt that’s really the basis for our madness so that we might be able to carry on. The fact that we’re not alone in this mess doesn’t really help matters. This is an “internal thing” that we need to change and correct … not an external one where someone from the outside … whether it be the Government, a friend or a bank … is going to save us from our ruin. Our sense of helpless anger is a reality!
So it seems that it’s that “guilt thing” that’s at the foundation of our anger … it’s not really the anger that we can do anything about right now. In fact, it might be considered a reasonable reaction. If we can “shake” the guilt out of our psyches in our admission of mistake-making then might the anger subside? Is that really THAT IMPORTANT? I believe the answer is “yes, it is.” Then maybe we won’t be so overtaken by the headlines or the TV and radio talk shows and “up-to-date” reports. Then maybe our random thoughts can find a detour from becoming obsessive in our thinking to becoming more rational. Then maybe we won’t be talking about the “same old same old” with our friends, relatives and financial advisors while believing that the more we obsess and talk about our plight the answer of relief and the road to recovery will come. It won’t!
Yes, I guess I’m coming right back down to the same conclusion that I usually turn to in my editorials to help explain what can be done. The choice is about YOU, your honesty with yourself in admitting your mistakes and then “getting on with your life” despite the trauma that you’re undergoing. The choice is about what it is that we WANT to expose ourselves in order to retain our sanity and integrity. I don’t believe that irresponsibility is as big a problem as our failure to recognize and admit it … if only to ourselves. Doing so, frees us up in order to focus on what IS important in our life RIGHT HERE AND NOW. It won’t cure or immediately solve anything but it will allow us to become unstuck in our thinking and lifestyles. It will allow us to break free from the guilt that binds us up so that we might be able to come up with some new and fresh approaches to our dilemmas. And so let’s let MARCH MADNESS play itself out on the basketball courts ofAmericainstead of in our personal lives. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.