How can we keep our cool in a culture that often turns towards rage and violence in times of anger or distress? It’s not easy to stay calm when the people around us are not, but there are some simple ways to promote peace in the world and in our own hearts.
“I’m just as prone to ‘losing it’ as anybody else. So when I start to find myself creeping towards that edge, I ask for help,” says Lisa Mladinich, Catholic mother, catechist, and author. “In order to do that, we have to practice silence. God is found in silence and if we don’t retreat from the noise of the world … we have lots of influences in our society that are promoting violence of the mind and the heart, as well as the body.”
“A lot of really good people are getting caught up, I think because we’re so overwhelmed by all the social media. It’s like we are experiencing the ability to read minds all over the world simultaneously. When you’re getting this constant feed of people’s reactions, thoughts, feelings, and opinions, it’s like you can’t shut other people’s minds out of your head unless you simply step away from the noise. It’s important to do that and not over-expose ourselves, because we become angry. It can really drive us a little crazy,” says Mladinich.
Promoting peace requires forgiveness. “We were told in Matthew 18:22 to forgive 77 times, [and] in numerology seven is perfection. When Jesus tells us to forgive 77 times, He means you need to forgive all the time,” explains Mladinich. “The wicked servant who does not forgive when he has already been forgiven is sent to the torturers—that’s the story that Jesus told about not forgiving.”
Turn to prayer in times of distress. “When we’re feeling angry, it’s because there’s a fear at the root of it, and that’s a real temptation,” says Mladinich. “If we’re frightened because someone made us look foolish or someone just wounded our pride in front of what we feel is the whole world, we have to go to that and say, ‘Lord, please be with me in that place of fear, be with me in my insecurity, so that I have the security of Your eternal love.’”