|Posted by sean berry on February 13, 2011 at 10:06 AM|
There is no doubt that the world can be a very vicious place and at times it seems there is little sacred. Despite this fact, I am not one of those people that think the world is in dire chaos and we as a people have no moral compass any more. I believe this because I don’t think it was ever any better earlier in our history and because of the way society has changed and technology along with it, our interactions have become much more complex than before. So it’s imperative that people adopt a sense of thick skin because no matter how well you safe guard yourself from offensiveness, no matter how polite and respectful you are yourself, someone is going to be a dick to you and it’s going to hurt if you let it.
Information is a funny thing, certain kinds of it you can absorb without a care in the world and then other information seems to pass like acid through the blood vessels in your head. The fact is we place a lot of importance on what others think and we evaluate most of our self-worth upon the opinions of others. Sure, people can see things about you that you may be blind to yourself, but what does someone else’s opinion really matter? Opinions to me are either indestructible in that you can never change them; feathery, as in they can be swayed from one place to another with just a gust; even ghostly, as they can fade away and become transparent if a more logical or beneficial opinion is introduced.
When someone says something mean, take the time to think: why does it hurt or why does it irritate? Are they pointing out some obvious truth that other people have been polite enough to over look? Are they bringing attention to something that is off topic or that you are trying to keep hidden? Are they making far fetched and demeaning assumptions? Perhaps they are just being plain rude and insulting you. If someone never read Moby Dick, would you question them about it for reliable information? So if someone who doesn’t know you then decides to talk shit about you, how are they in any way a reliable source themselves? Sure, it’s never fun being the odd person out but no matter who you are, at one point in time you will play that role.
I also want to state that I have dealt with my share of shit over the years from bullying to being picked on for a multitude of things, even to this day I still get stared at for looking a little different and can be the butt of many jokes. I can also say my natural tendency is to be a little sensitive myself sometimes but it’s a battle I have fought adamantly over the years because the older I get, the more I realize that not only are people basically the same, but they are all fucked up in their own special little way. We make the choice to be hurt by others because we feel we need to defend ourselves when sometimes it’s just as effective to indulge your opposition and let them reveal their thoughts or feelings no matter how conflicting or disturbing they may seem.
We live in a society of words and ideas, whereas in the past, it was more about action and response. Emotion is what makes life beautiful but there is a time when you need to learn to turn it off. The causes and reasons for people being mean are many, such as for revenge, a cheap thrill, too much to drink, a desire for attention, intimidation, and even fear. A verbal assault is usually a call for a return of the same and to not do so would almost seem against code, assuming any such regulation existed. Can you fight fire with fire though? Of course, if you fancy conflict that is, but you can also choose no response and that may not still get you off the hook, but it’s what you’ve decided in your own head that determines how what you see outside of it that will affect you.
It’s important that I note this wasn’t written simply to tell people to toughen up and accept that there are a bunch of mean bastards out there, it’s more or less to say that you have control over how you interpret these people and the potential reach of their insults. As we bundle up when it’s cold, we must mentally cover ourselves in the presence of people who would seek to tear us down. This may seem easier said than done of course, especially with very sensitive topics and in some cases, socially destructive rumors. Not to mention that your own mental health comes into the picture, so if you know full well by now that you are easily offended by things, perhaps it’s time to examine why before something worse comes along. The reality of life is that we as a people are going to be offended on a nearly daily basis, but if you take it as something that is inevitable, then there should be no need to let it bother you. I also want to close by adding that some of the things people say can be very mean and it’s hard to turn your back on, but in order to survive and live well you must suffer through many hardships and be able to adapt to adversity in its every form.