I think this is something that I’ve noticed as a reigning quality in a lot of people ever since I was old enough to have any sort of insight on people and their characteristics. However, up until very recently, I had always chalked this quality up to growing pains; something that most, if not all, people would someday grow out of. Moving to LA, and finally living outside of the structured confines of school, it’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore the obvious self-absorption that rules people’s lives.
I’m not saying that I, too, am not guilty of this. Many times in a single day I have to stop and check myself. Make sure that I am taking others into consideration. And often there is still oversight because I don’t see things through others’ eyes, so I’m not going to automatically know what bothers them, to what extent it bothers them, or what they’re thinking. But the difference is that I recognize this rampant problem, make a conscious effort to consider my actions, and to understand where others are coming from. And I think this is sadly where most of the world falls short.
We get so wrapped up in our own minds, our own ways of thinking and living that we begin to mistake the “truth” and what is “right” and what is “wrong” as being black and white, something that operates very clearly in our favor and justifies our own motivations, actions, and beliefs. We do not take the time to consider other points of view, or give those points of view validation. Other people simply become that, “Other,” and are wrong, or crazy, or evil. No one suffers as much as we do, gives as much as we do, or considers us. In essence, the world around us becomes a “me” game. How does this effect “me,” why aren’t others thinking about “me,” I’m the only one looking out for “me,” why don’t others agree with “me.”
This is a dangerous spiral that we all fall into at one point or another, and if we don’t take a step back and really examine ourselves, we can become obsessed with the idea that there is malicious intention behind anything that doesn’t go our way. We don’t stop to think about the fact that most people out there don’t want conflict, don’t want to stir the boat anymore than you do. Or, we let the stressors in our lives get to us, and we take those emotions out on others, because we can’t handle the idea of being the problem. Because we are good people, and it’s those others who are bad.
People are always going to look out for #1, that’s just a sad fact of reality. There are too many selfish goals and dreams, too much greed driving most of us away from being selfless. And those who choose to be selfless, who attempt to care for others and make the world a better place, often find that day-to-day life becomes a struggle simply trying to stay alive, make ends meet, or simply find genuine companionship because someone will see an opportunity to create a shortcut for their own selfish purpose by taking advantage of that selfless person. Lately I’ve become exhausted to the point of illness because of people who cannot see past their own reasoning to understand how their words, actions, and requests come across and affect others.
It’s sad that there aren’t more genuine people out there. Those who embrace empathy as a top priority. But the longer I live in LA, the more I realize that truly, what you do in life, what you accomplish, is a drop in the bucket to the way you make others feel and the people you surround yourself with. Let’s all practice being a little more genuine, and getting out of our own frames of mind to better understand others. One of the many reasons I find myself often drawn to people of different walks of life from my own is that I want to understand them and their take on life. I write because I want others to hear those POV as well. I want to know how their background, their history, shades their view of the world and how they interpret others. I believe that the only truly stupid people out there are the ones so stuck in their own belief systems, their own opinions and view points, that they cannot hold any empathy for people who disagree with them. Those are the horrible people who call others names, accuse them of ruining the world, and let hate dictate their thoughts, words, and actions.
Don’t let hate dictate your thoughts, words, and actions. Love others more, and love yourself enough to let go.