I pride myself on having a non-judgemental attitude towards people no matter who they are. I may be a Christian but I am not one who believes it is my job to judge others! That is God’s job. Mine is to love others as God has loved me and I try to do that.
As a psychologist it is also my job to like others. If you don’t like people you can’t empathise with them and empathy is what makes a therapeutic relationship work.
Empathy should not be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone. Empathy is more about understanding how someone feels and what it is like to live in their skin. It’s easier to talk to someone if you sense they understand where you are coming from and are not judging you.
For some people sympathy, however well meant, is a form of judgement. It means you feel sorry for them which automatically means you would not want to be them. Empathy, by contrast, seeks to understand how it feels to be them which encourages people to open up and help you understand.
More and more I am finding a gap is growing between me and society in general. I’m finding I don’t like people in general – I only like them in person.
I’m watching the world change from secretly ugly to openly ugly and I don’t like it.
People have always had flaws. There have always been rude, nasty, selfish, ignorant, cruel and abusive people but they used to keep those qualities hidden behind a veneer of socially enforced good manners.
It was socially unacceptable to laugh at other peoples misfortunes, to bully or abuse people, to steal, lie, manipulate or con others and mean, rude or nasty people tended to be ostracised by society and looked down on. People still did those things and some even made a profit doing them but they didn’t brag about doing them.
Sex was considered a private thing and those who made their sex lives public were considered crass and low-class. Breaking the law was something to be ashamed of along with addictions and other such things.
People had addictions. People broke the law. People were mean and nasty and cruel and self-absorbed. People had active sex lives and did all the same things they are doing now. Nothing has changed in that sense. The change is that people don’t seem to feel any shame about anything any more.
It is no longer considered socially unacceptable to laugh at other people’s misfortunes. Now everyone laughs. Laughing at others has become good, clean, acceptable family viewing! The television show “Funniest Home Videos” shows people getting hurt physically and/or emotionally and it’s called entertainment. People think you are a sour old thing with no sense of humour when you don’t laugh.
Being rude, cruel or nasty to others used to be frowned on. Lying to others, manipulating them, telling lies about them used to be behaviour people did in secret because they knew society would condemn them for it. Now people go on “reality shows” where such behaviour is rewarded with huge sums of money.
Darwin said there is no God. Human beings are descended from apes and we are nothing more than animals who can talk.
As a psychologist I know human beings tend to live up, or down, to their beliefs about themselves. If someone believes they are unloveable or a failure they tend to behave in ways that ensure they will not be loved and they will fail.
More and more people are believing there is no God and we are just talking animals so more and more people are acting like talking animals. They have no God so they don’t try to pretend they are better than an animal and society is reflecting that loss of self respect.
I watch as the world turns into something I hardly recognize. A world where schoolboy rapists video their crime and post it on You Tube for laughs. How’s that for a funny home video?
A world where betraying one’s parents and having a party that goes out of control can get you celebrity status and a 200 thousand dollar guest appearance on a “reality” show.
A world where pictures of a singers vagina are made into a “coffee table” book and used as a gimmick to sell an album.
What happened to shame? What happened to caring what other people think? What happened to manners and good taste?
I always said I would never get so old I’d keep harking back to “The Old Days” and here I am doing just that.
Then I see something that gives me hope.
On an unofficial Big Brother fan site a man posts a letter that makes a Big Brother contestant sound like a crazy stalker. He claims he is her friend and wants to set the record straight about his relationship with her.
The response is immediate. They question him, they don’t believe him, they demand proof and, even when they get proof, they still question him. They debate the issue hotly and are aggressively rude to him and to each other.
As I follow the saga it becomes clear to me that this generation are different but it isn’t all bad. They don’t pretend to believe everything they hear just to be polite. They don’t let themselves be shamed into silence. They have a voice and they are not afraid to let it be heard however stupid it might make them seem.
When the dust settles these people have, somehow, managed to cut through everything else and get to the guts of the issue. A real friend would not say such horrid things. If he is lying about being her friend then what else is he lying about.
The general consensus appears to be that, regardless of what he has said about her, the mere fact he said it makes him an arsehole.
When I realised they had cut through the facts and by-passed the true or false issue to arrive at the bedrock I was surprised. My attitude was an old one – don’t attack the person – be polite and just debate the truth of the information. Theirs was a whole lot more to the point!
Maybe it’s my attitude that needs to change because the conclusion they tended to reach, that this guy is an arsehole, is the same one I came to but would not have been willing to articulate. Manners would have stopped me from saying it yet it needed to be said.
I shall have to explore this a little more. Maybe there are some valuable lessons for me to learn from this bad mannered younger generation hehehe. Food for thought.