It has been said that many people live lives of quiet desperation.   The idea is that they quietly endure their anxiety, uncertainty, and fears regarding their lives and future.  They are desperate to find meaning in their lives but keep their doubts and concerns to themselves and put on a good face to the world so that everyone thinks that they are content, secure, and confident.

There may be some truth to this idea.   When we greet someone it is customary to ask the routine question, how are you?   We don’t expect anyone to actually tell us.   We expect the equally routine response, I’m fine, how are you?   We would be quite surprised and probably annoyed and uncomfortable if they went on and on about all of their problems and issues.  The point being is that it is polite to ask someone how they are but we don’t really want to know.  Most of us expect other people to keep their real feelings quietly to themselves just as we keep our feelings to ourselves.

Luckily, most of us have people in our lives that we are close to and to whom we can express our deepest felt feelings.  Our loved ones provide us with an outlet for all of that pent up emotion that might otherwise erupt into rage if held in too long.   We all need a shoulder to cry on so to speak once in awhile so that we can vent and then get on with our lives.

Without that outlet, all too often that quiet desperation can become a very public display of anger and violence.   Many times, in the aftermath of a senseless mass murder, for example, the perpetrator is described as a quiet, unassuming person that no one could imagine would commit such a horrendous act of violence.   It may not be a coincidence that many of our most extreme crimes of violence are carried out by that quiet, lonely person who always kept to himself.

Certainly, no one can condone or excuse this kind of behavior; however, it may be wise to not underestimate the fury that can come from quiet desperation.   Perhaps, the next time we ask someone how they are we should take the time to actually find out.