For reasons I can’t fathom, we human beings have reached a point where we take great pride in putting other people down, based on their sense of clothing, looks, way of walking, talking, skin color, community, their likes and dislikes and every other thing, mostly under the disguise of having fun.
This often happens in a group setting where people try to make everyone laugh at the expense of someone else, only to appear cool. Because, there’s no coolness in respecting other people, right? And what’s the fun in it, anyway?
And a majority of us end up supporting this kind of behavior because who wants to question the status quo or stand against the person who is labeled “cool” by everyone. In fact, even the person being made fun of is supposed to laugh because “can’t you take a joke?
Our moral code may be screaming from inside to tell us this is wrong, but the sounds of momentary laughter and fun becomes so loud that those screams end up falling on deaf ears. This is synonymous to bullying, except that here everybody laughs and pretends to enjoy, so people prefer to just call it “harmless fun”.
And we all have been at the receiving end of this. Which is why, this is even more perplexing to me. Shouldn’t we be more considerate and sensitive toward the feelings of others, having been in their place ourselves? Perhaps, I guess the very fact that it had happened to us before, has made us accept this without feeling the need to question our conscience. We feel, it’s okay for others to suffer bullying, because we have suffered it too and we don’t want to make it look like a big deal. So, where does this stop?
If people who have been the victims play a part in victimizing others, there’ll be new attackers and new victims every time.
If there are people who do this knowingly, there are far too many people who often unknowingly end up making others feel bad about certain things in their life.
Now, if we ever set out to make things straight in the world, dealing with the former group of people, that is, the people who do this “in the name of fun” is far easier than dealing with the latter group. This group is usually completely divorced from the effects of their words because their words, opinions, and comments are often disguised as — concern for the other person, humble bragging, wanting to influence people, a way of attaining satisfaction of having helped someone or saved someone’s life by giving them unsolicited advice, and so on.
Why are you still stuck at this job? Why are you still single? You don’t seem to have changed much from when I saw you the last time. Your hair looks dull and dry, you need to do something about it. Ohh, is that a bulging tummy, you got to hit the gym! How can you be happy with your life at the moment?
We need to stop this. Like, seriously. Yes, I know sometimes we have genuine concern for other people. We want to make them happy. We want to make things right for them. They probably know that too. But, at this very moment, we are making them feel terrible about the things that probably weren’t bothering them till the point we brought them up. Even if they were bothered about them, they’re now even more troubled about our remarks and the fact that we think their life needs change, and that they’re not trying hard enough to want, or make that change happen.
Please, just let people be…we all love our lives. We know what’s best for us. Don’t offer your opinion or suggestions or advice unless asked for.
Yeah, so what — you’d say. This happens everywhere. Why am I writing about this?
Because, no matter how much the other person laughs or pretends to not be affected by the remarks, more often than not, they do not like it. They want us to stop. They want to get up and smack us right away. But, they don’t. What they do, instead, is start pitying themselves. And allow their confidence to diminish, one bit at a time. Especially, if they’re the sensitive ones among us.
This makes them hate the fact that they’re sensitive.
Why can’t I just shrug it off like others? Why do people’s words and opinions matter to me so much? Why does it affect me so much?
If you have ever felt this, I want to say to you…
Your sensitivity is a gift. You can feel everything, ten times more. The good things and the bad, of course. You can feel the feelings of others, their pain, their happiness, everything. You are empathetic, you are compassionate. This means you will never make others feel bad, at least not deliberately. The world needs more people like you.
You have something that others don’t even know they don’t have.
Cherish it. Preserve it. Practice it!
And when you have to face people that don’t show even an ounce of sensitivity, just forgive them. Marcus Aurelius says…
“…we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”
You don’t have to care about anybody’s opinion other than your own. Because, that’s what matters, that’s what has the real power. To make you, or break you. Only that. And nothing else. And the best part is the power is in your own hands. Why do you then behave like it lies with others?
Those people, they are the ones that need help. Help them rise to your levels. Tell them when they can use their words to make others feel good, why would they want to use it to make them feel bad. Tell them, it’s far better to aim at making people happy and not at making them laugh.
Doesn’t matter if they call you uncool. Don’t let that voice inside you die. Speak up. Grow your gang, you are the real cool ones.
Yes, the world is not perfect and it’s far from being fair. I often wonder how it got to this point. But, I’d like to believe that there’s still hope. The damage is not irreversible. Not until we have people like you. Thanks for being you!
Image Credit: Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash