90: when it all makes you mad, who really is in charge?
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**My thoughts were also recorded more in depth in a podcast episode, which you can find by pressing play on the black bar at the top of this post, or by finding episode 90 of the Farmish Kind of Life podcast in your favorite podcast player/podcatcher.**
I was listening back to episode 89 of the Farmish Kind of Life podcast (about the power of raising and growing your own food, even if it’s small scale) and it hit me: I’m talking about how every little step towards self-reliance is a step in the right direction—a step away from the system.
And then I started thinking of society as a system. Social media as a system. The mainstream media as a system.
And then through my earbuds while I did chores, I heard myself talk about taking back control of things that are yours to control, and not giving up that power to people who shouldn’t have it.
And then I thought about society and social media and the mainstream media as the system, and I thought about how much all of that fuels our emotion.
And I thought about how much control they get to have to be in charge of our emotions like that.
Hear me out. Because I think we need to make some changes.
If you need to step away, do it. But…
I’ve talked a bit about how it’s important to step away from what you need to step away from when you feel you need to do that. And I still think that’s important. I briefly took social media off my phone. It was an interesting experiment — but it also brought up a lot of issues.
Stepping away is still an option. Saying peace out and just hanging out in your barn is still a valid solution. But it hit me what if that’s not the only solution? What if right now, the point is that we get to figure out that we don’t have to let the system control our emotions?
Stick with me here.
A point for my conspiracy theory friends
What if making things yucky out there is part of the plan? What if getting the peace makers to say peace out, I can’t deal is part of the plan? What if making social media a negative, dramatic place to be is part of the plan? What if making people angry and panicky and annoyed and frustrated and on edge is part of the plan?
I mean, it’s just a thought…
A point for those people who need to be reminded a little something about the Karens and the Facebook Nazis
People who post stuff or say stuff and get you riled up really don’t care that at suppertime you’re still fuming, or that their post made you freak out at your husband or kick your dog or yell at your kids. They. don’t. care.
Seriously. Read that again.
They don’t care, and we’re sucking all that stuff into us and letting it ruin our entire day.
What if us being able to stand in all that stuff and say, “you don’t get to ruin my day” is really about taking control and having power? I don’t mean we yell just as loudly as everyone else about whatever we think. Because when everyone is yelling, no one is hearing anything, and then they just want to yell louder. But what if this is the chance for us to show how much control we actually have over our own life?
And yes, having control can sometimes mean you choose to say “I turn everything off. Right now”. That IS showing you have control over your life. But what if having control over your life is also being able to stand in the midst of opposition or disagreement or chaos and say you don’t get to control how I feel, you don’t get to ruin my day, you don’t get to force me to get up on the wrong side of the bed.
And I do not want to be sing-songy. At all. That’s not me. But maybe this is a time for us to realize how much we do control in our own life. And take back the control of the things we’ve given up.
Like, our emotions. Like our mood.
I walked outside the other day and I looked up at my barn and I was like “wow. Have you seen my barn?” My barn stands here while I’m all angry off at the world and moping around. My amazing barn that I’m so blessed to have that is filled with kittens and baby chicks and has given us so much food. I look at that barn and I feel excitement and power and peace.
Why am I letting Facebook Karen or George the Social Media Nazi ruin that for me?
It’s a tricky situation that requires balance.
It would be unnatural to sit in the midst of anger and panic and frustration and not be affected by it in some way. We are human, after all. But I think we can find a balance between yeah, this is all crazy and sucks and but I am in charge of how I react to this. I’m going to be in charge of how much this affects my day with my husband and my kids. Not whoever just posted whatever on Facebook or whoever said whatever on the news. I’m going to be in charge of how what’s happening out there plays out in my life right here. It’s a balance we have to find.
I removed social media from my phone. Which was really nice—for a while. Until I realized it was messing with some business things. Until I realized I would take a really nice picture and wanted to share it to make some people smile, but I can’t because I have to load it into my computer and then post it from my desktop which 6 out of 10 times has a glitch and I lose the picture. Until I realized that yes, there are crappy things on social media, but there were also really awesome things I was missing because I was taking the “peace out” approach.
And sometimes you have to take the “peace out” approach.
But sometimes you just have to look for another solution. Or frame it differently. Or change your perspective.
When we take the all or nothing approach, it’s something because that’s how we are taking control of the situation. But other times it’s a clue that we don’t have control of the situation, and that’s why we have to step away. We are at a point where we can’t be in the midst of other people’s ridiculousness and say I don’t agree with anything you’re saying, but you know what, I love my family and my farm, so I’m still gonna have a great day.
Things will still make us mad
Are there still things that are gonna make us mad? Yep. We’re not going to become unfeeling creatures. That’s not the point. The point is that a lot of us can’t deal with emotion without sucking it into every pore in our body and having it affect every part of the rest of our day. And that means we’re letting THEM have the control. The person who posted the ridiculousness. The person who posted that response. The person who said that thing. We are giving THAT person control over our day.
You decide for you how what happens in front of you is going to affect your day. And right now, that’s asking a lot. Because there is a LOT of stuff happening in front of you.
And if you’re anything like me, and have a little bit of that “you can’t tell me what to do” inside of you, you’re pretty fired up right now. And if I frame my anger and sadness and frustration as something I’ve allowed someone else to bring into my life, that gets me even more fired up and makes me wonder why I’m letting them have that control.
And if I think about the fact that people are out there saying and doing whatever they are saying and doing and they don’t really care how it affects me, that just adds a whole ‘nother level of “you can’t tell me what to do”.
So this may help you. This may frame things a little bit for you. And it might not help you at all. You might be so far down in anger and sadness and frustration with people that you might be like “whatever, Amy.” But the next time you’re scrolling through social media or you’re talking on the phone with someone and you can feel your blood boiling, ask yourself if those people get to ruin your day.
Does this thing that’s happening right now, whatever it is, whatever was said, does it get to ruin your day? Does it get to ruin how you go about this day with your family?
And if it does get to ruin your day, if it’s something that’s so big or important or ridiculous that you’re willing to let your day be ruined by it, because there ARE those things, then figure out how to do something productive about it. Because part of the issue right now is that we’ve got a lot of people yelling at each other from both sides of the fence and no solutions. It’s all yelling and name calling and spouting statistics from different sources and more yelling.
And part of that frustration is that some of us feel we don’t know what the solution is. Or we can’t reach the solution we want. Or we’re at odds about what the solution is and how to get to it.
But what if you can’t fix anything?
And what if you can’t fix what’s happening right now? What if you feel like you can’t change anything because the government spectacle circus is spinning their wheels or sparring with each other or tied up in red tape? What if the solution you actually legit need is being held up by someone else? Then what do you do?
Love your people.
Raise your animals.
Tend your garden.
Or do whatever it is that YOU can do where YOU are. That IS your solution. Because regardless of what this all looks like tomorrow or next week or next month or next year, those are the things that will have mattered and put you further ahead. Getting stuck in anger now over a meme that Karen posted is not going to help you tomorrow. Getting stuck in frustration now about someone’s response to Covid or the economy is not going to help you next month.
What you do today, what you take control of today, this very moment, is what’s going to help you tomorrow and next week next month next year. Don’t give people control over something that’s yours to be in charge of. People understand that when we talk about the food system—they get all fired up about it! But we need to take back control of our responses, our emotions, and our reactions. Other people don’t get to dictate what those are for us. They don’t get to control that.
Don’t allow the anger and frustration out there be brought into your home and seep into everything you do.
You’re in control, friends.
I know there are some jerks and crazies out there. There always will be. But if you let them get into your head, it means they win. It means they get control. The older I get the more I’m learning that I’m a control freak in a different way than I was when I was younger. When I was younger, I wanted to control everything around me in the sense that I was a perfectionist and I wanted things to turn out, things that I had zero control over.
Now that I’m older, I find that I’m a control freak about me. I’m understanding what I do have control over. And it’s not much, but those things that I can control, I’m gonna grab that bull by the horns and fight it and win.
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