Try and make a difference this holiday season.

“Old Man Yells at Cloud,” is a popular meme of Abe Simpson, Homer’s father from the television series, “The Simpsons.” The image is used to make fun of people who are angry over frivolous controversies or things they can’t control. One picture featured Grandpa Simpson yelling at the “controversial” solid red Starbucks holiday cup. 

Our 2020 pandemic holiday has given us plenty of reasons to rage. We feel isolated, and our favorite activities are curtailed. However, you can channel these emotions in practical ways. If you ever have the urge to “yell at a cloud,” here are strategies to move from frustration to action:

Do I Have the Facts?  Often, anger results from an incorrect assumption or impulsive reaction to something you read or saw on social media. Make sure to do some fact-checking. Watch the WHOLE video. Listen to the ENTIRE speech. Ask someone “in the know.” You’ll feel embarrassed if you find out later that you were fooled.

Is it Worth My Time? Ranting about every social media post you see, writing a negative review about a new restaurant, or weighing in with an uninformed opinion takes a lot of time. People are bound to make mistakes from time to time (i.e., a wrong food order, lousy customer service, bad personal judgment). Be willing to forgive and move on. Unless there is a threat to someone’s help and safety, it’s ok to let things go. Is this the best use of your time?

Can You Change Someone’s Opinion? People waste a tremendous amount of energy trying to change others’ opinions, especially social media. Rarely, if never, does anyone’s opinion alter because of your post. Focus on the people who can make the changes you seek.

Choose Your Battles: We all know someone who’s made a career out of raging about everything from public art to the oceans’ condition. Passion is great, but it’s unrealistic to influence everything that ails you or society. Not every problem may deserve the same level of attention. You ultimately may water-down your reputation as a person who can effect change.

At a time when we’ve had to change so many things, consider where to direct your precious energy. Pause and get the facts before acting impulsively; weigh in on causes that truly matter to you. Focus your attention on those whose opinions matter, and your impact on your community will be much greater. Next time you feel rageful and want to yell at clouds, phone a friend. 

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