I think we vastly and wildly underestimate the effect that our actions can have on other people. We’re aware, vaguely, but not as much as we should be– but even so, we don’t act on the awareness that we do have. We comfort ourselves and pad insults with well, it’s the truth or they deserve to know. But its your opinion, not a truth, and no, they don’t deserve to be told terrible things about themselves– or worse, to hear it through the grapevine. I’m not talking about constructive criticisms to help them out, I’m talking about the unnecessary and evil things we say to people for the sake of saying them.
But really, the truth is that we say and think these things because they somehow ease a little bit of our own pain. We categorize someone as being beneath us for one reason or another and suddenly, they’re not so intimidating, and we’re a little better off. It’s all delusion, but it seems to work.
But what I’m curious about is why we don’t embrace the fact that people are just as in need of love and acceptance as we are. They are looking for someone to nod and say you’re doing fine! just as much as we are. Why can’t we seem to get over ourselves and not be recklessly cruel to people? I suppose it has something to do with human nature, but in most other areas of life, we’re expected to transcend our animal instincts, so why is this the exception?
Where along the line do we forget that people kill themselves over being ridiculed and unaccepted by others? People spend years in therapy trying to undo what their childhoods did by the way of destroying their sense of self? It’s simple, and there’s nothing wrong with it– we need to feel loved, and when we don’t, we devolve into these terrorizing self-hate machines and we’ll burn ourselves to the ground even though someone else lit the fire.
The cycle perpetuates itself. People, feeling inadequate and bad about themselves, look to rip on others to heighten themselves, and so on. When are we going to realize that a few acts of kindness here and there don’t add up to doing permanent damage to someones life by the mean things said as a kid, behind their backs, on the internet, in the workplace, through the family… it goes on and on.
It’s time to start respecting people beyond having the decency to not slap them in the face when we feel the urge strike. We need to learn to be bigger people that think bigger thoughts and commit to treating people with the same decency we want to be treated with– whether they’re looking or not. Because the funny thing about all that hatred is that, one way or another, it gets back to the person you’re giving it to, one way or another.
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