It seems to be a frequent trend for others to talk about how much they hate people– as a whole, of course, and it would never be based on racism or prejudice or stereotypes (though, let’s be honest, generalizing a hatred for people as a whole is sort of the whole point to stereotyping), and I’m left to my own state of confusion on how anyone could come to the conclusion that this mentality is warranted or acceptable– what possible benefit does one get from such a broad dislike? There are times I have tried to discuss the rationale others may have for why they feel the need to be so negative towards the human race and I’m given a barrage of reasons why this hatred is deemed acceptable– a list of all the crappy things others may, or may not, do as a justification for perpetuating a hate culture. Do you realize how ignorant and stupid you sound?
There is not a single person negating the fact that some people aren’t all that great, though I personally believe this has more to do with nurturing and compatibility than some ingrained evil that isn’t found in nature. Even those really shitty people have had horrible things happen in their lives and most likely were never taught the catered ways of coping with negativity; they most likely have lacked the emotional support of love and compassion during their formative years that have shaped their perceptions. How do we decide to handle that? We reinforce their negative perception and behavior by treating them as though they are worthless and horrible.
The concept of negative reinforcement has always baffled me to my core. It’s become impossible for me to understand why anyone would want to create a hostile atmosphere filled with tension and animosity between people; to perform small acts of betrayal and disrespect simply to get something we want when positive reinforcement provides us with nearly exactly the same results and promotes a far happier and healthier relationship between others.
When I see a homeless man on the street, my first instinct is not to assume this person is a criminal, mentally ill and dangerous, or somehow undeserving of my compassion. No, my first instinct is to offer whatever I can– whether that’s food, money or just a smile and some kind words. The amount of backlash I’ve received from others over this specific topic astounds and angers me. “They’re just going to use that money for drugs.” “They’re probably making more money on the corner of that intersection than you do at your full time job.”
And now I say, how dare you? How dare you decide a complete stranger’s motivations and history; how dare you toss your negativity into the wind and use it to forcefully impact another person’s life? If you’re someone who does this, you sicken me. You spew your hostility, congregate others around you and create this culture of hate based on prejudgment, cynicism and your own low self-worth. It makes me sick, and it saddens me all at once because I also know that the person shouting hatred and anger from the rooftops is someone in dire need of love themselves.
It’s not a sense of entitlement that causes us to act like assholes, but rather the cycle of hate that propels itself through our lives. Someone treats you like garbage; then you go out to dinner and treat the wait staff poorly; then they go home and are short with their significant others who then go to work the next morning and piss off their co-workers; then carrying that to the grocery store where they scream at an employee and the cycle repeats every single day. Everything we do impacts another person whether we want to believe it or not. The status updates we post on Facebook about how stupid the drive-thru attendant at our favorite fast food place was for screwing up our orders; how traffic is backed up for two hours on the highway and we curse out the other drivers only to find out there was a high impact car accident that involved fatalities; or the tone of voice we use with telemarketers who are simply trying to earn their minimum wage paychecks like everyone else.
Maybe your life is in shambles, maybe you’re unhappy and not getting what you want, maybe you’re blind to the beauty that surrounds you– to the power you have at your very fingertips that could feel the circle of joy that comes with simply being a nice person and impacting others positively. None of us are perfect, and I, myself, fail; we should hold ourselves accountable and make real attempts to do better every day. We are not all knowing or all powerful, and the times we are treated like less than in this society directly correlate to how often we are allowing this hate culture to continue. When you find the peace I seem to always be preaching about and really begin to accept and embrace the reality around you, the small things like a screwed up food order and traffic no longer matter at all and the lifted weight of removing anger and hatred is one of the most refreshing and fulfilling things we can encounter.
Therefore, I wait my turn even if I am in a rush and am often rewarded for my patience; I drive the speed limit, let people merge, stop for pedestrians and contently sit in idle traffic often to be rewarded with easy and joyful travels; I am blessed with a plethora of friends who have become more like family to me, with countless stories of meeting strangers and putting in the effort to make someone feel as though they are worthy. Often I find myself being described as having a light inside me, being uplifting in a world that seems so stepped on. The experiences I have with others have made me feel closer to spirituality than any church or bible verse, and as I continue through my days, I am blessed with the freedom of being more honest, accepted and expressive than I ever have.
It is a blessing to know that whatever stems inside of me is propelled outward into the atmosphere; a constant reminder that I am loved, trusted and respected. It is in knowing that we are worthy, that everyone else around us is worthy as well, whether we are aware of their personal histories or truths; with knowing that as long as I remain loving, open and continue going through life giving every person the benefit of the doubt and treating them as though they are an extension of myself, that I can be certain I will never be without love and never be without companionship.
You should really try it. It’s fucking awesome.
Photo Source: X-Men (2000) 20th Century Fox