Why We Devalue Others

Although I’ve written many Facebook posts and discussion board entries about political ideas that are ultimately anti-human, the disparaging comments towards others has recently been causing me to spiral into a bit of despair; and for the better, I’d say, because a little dose of sadness helps to reevaluate the things that actually make you happy. Short-lived, my sadness was, however, as my son ran out of the bathroom screaming “I did it!” with his pull-up around his ankles; such a smile can erase the worst of the “blue meanies.”

But with my heart heavy for the hatred that has been bred and continues to breed across the minds of many, I am reminded that devaluing others is directly related to devaluing yourself, and I find myself in more a state of pity rather than depression. I know that misery well, and could never wish that misery on another, but I also recognize that hatred comes from hating yourself and it’s hard to not think of that as a life lesson in value.

When you place value on others, it becomes a reflection of how you view yourself. If you have ever been in a happy relationship, romantic or platonic, you may have noticed that you also become happier as a person. Your good qualities become more prominent, praised and appreciated while your flaws don’t seem as all-encompassing. You may instinctively take better care of yourself, your mental health and your growth. The value that you placed in someone else subconsciously inspires the value you place in yourself.

Similarly, when you devalue others, your sense of well-being starts to crumble, you become more narrow minded and callous in your perceptions of others, and often times violate your own basic sense of humanity. It can be hard to see this, however, because being in a devalued state often leads to increases hormones such as adrenaline, which can give you a false sense of power and authority—meaning your perception becomes one of you being right and everyone else being wrong. This heightened state of self-righteousness only lasts as long as your increase of hormones does, which then means it becomes important to consistently find things that increase those hormones again. For example, keeping your ex as a friend on Facebook and consistently stalking them to fuel your adrenaline, which fuels your false sense of righteousness, which repeats a cycle of fake authority and justifications for devaluing another person.

But ultimately you are devaluing yourself. You may find yourself saying things like “I don’t deserve this, why did this person do this to me, I deserve better, etc” all which are phrases that originate from a state of feeling devalued yourself. On the other hand, if your sense of value is high, you are more likely to be able to have disagreements with others without disparaging them and devaluing them. The link between a person’s differing view doesn’t come a personal blow, because your sense of value isn’t already at rock bottom and being relied on the opinion of another. You must be in a devalued stated in order to devalue another. This is why it becomes so incredibly difficult to break down another’s spirit when you feel really good about yourself; and similarly, why it becomes so easy to disparage another when your value is low. It becomes equally hard to build yourself up when you feel low as well, and your worth begins to rely on the opinion of others around you rather than coming from within.

Reminding myself of this brings me a sense of peace in dealing with the hateful rhetoric that is coming out of the mouths of loved ones, and I find myself trying to work harder to protect myself from a disruption of my own personal peace without placing blame or combatting hatred with my own hatred. Finding peace truly comes from the ability to separate the idea that everyone who is not your friend is an enemy, and that your friends have an obligation to somehow fit into your expectations. It is equally as important for you to take care of yourself as it is for you to understand that the hateful bastard next door yelling about Muslims is really just tired of himself.


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