Controlling your emotions is critical to surviving a zombie apocalypse. If The Walking Dead is anything to go by, anger may be the one most in need of control.
If you saw this Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, you know that, despite Carl’s pleas to the contrary, Rick is insisting on killing Negan. For Rick, the war will not end until he’s slain Negan. Pure and simple.
Why? Well, I’d have figured it was obvious: Rage. After Negan has killed (Or ordered the killing of) Denise, Glenn, Abraham, Olivia, and Spencer, Rick has become, not surprisingly, pissed at Negan.
But, therein lies his problem, the very problem that Carl hoped Rick could overcome: That, while he can’t kill all of The Saviors, he’s too angry to try anything else.
Why is that a problem? Let’s take Carl’s assessment as fact for a moment. If Rick can’t kill all of The Saviors, but still tries…what do you think is going to happen to him? He, and everyone in The Alliance, will die in the attempt.
And, this, is where we begin our lesson for this week. The simple fact is, while our anger can give us strength to fight against the odds we’ll face in the apocalypse, it can also get us into big trouble.
Anger can cause us to lose sight of things. If we get too thirsty for revenge, like Rick is, we can end up diving into certain death; All the blind rage in the world may not help us if we’re surrounded by a hundred armed killers.
Of course, that isn’t the only way rage can cause us to lose sight of things.
If we let our anger consume us, what do we become? Look at Morgan when it came to Gavin, slowly stalking him like an animal, with the ultimate intent of killing him. We saw a similar thing with Rick in Season Five, where he was going to blow away a defenseless Officer Licari (After already callously gunning down Officer Lamson). In both cases, the good men they once were were lost to their rage, becoming little more than killers. It was only at the behest of Carol and Ezekiel (And Daryl, in Rick’s case) that Morgan didn’t just murder Gavin outright.
If we can’t control our anger, we lose ourselves, and once you do that, it can be extremely difficult to get ourselves back.
Even if our anger doesn’t cause us to lose ourselves entirely, it can still get into trouble we could otherwise avoid.
Let’s take Jadis and her little altercation with Simon. Her situation was bad enough to begin with, with Simon and The Saviors confiscating The Scavengers guns, but, it got worse as Simon began demanding an apology from Jadis. First, after not hearing what he wanted, Simon killed Brion. Then, after not hearing what he wanted a second time, he killed Tamiel.
This is where Jadis’s anger made a bad situation worse. Rather than just apologize in a manner Simon wanted and demanding he leave, she slapped him. Now, I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it, but, let me ask you: Do you think it’s a smart idea to slap the guy who just confiscated all of your guns?
When you don’t control your anger, it controls you, and makes you do things you end up regretting.
But, then, what can you do to get control of it?
The first thing you should do is realize just the kind of trouble unbridled anger can get you into. When you give yourself time to think, you can stop yourself from doing the aforementioned “things you end up regretting”.
The next thing you should do is think about the people you care about. Think about how being ruled by blind rage will affect them. Will it cause them to suffer? Chances are, the answer is yes. If your rage or your desire for revenge is hurting those you care about…what’s the point?
Lastly, you need to be able to forgive. Whether it’s your enemies, yourself, what have you, you need to be able to forgive. Now, that doesn’t mean you should let some psychotic hostile run around, but, if you hate your enemy, everything I’ve already described will come to pass. You will be blinded by hate and either make dangerous mistakes, or have your rage used against you.
It’s vital to control your emotions, especially your anger. If you don’t control it, it will control you.
And that’s our survival rule of the week!! Hopefully, it will help you should you ever need it and give you that mental edge that will prove so crucial once the dead start eating everyone.
If you like this and want to find out more rules to survive the zombie apocalypse, why not pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse! You can get it on Kindle here and on iTunes here!