To save the world, there must be the realization that it’s not all about you. It’s just isn’t.
Our culture is regressing in a terribly narcissistic way.
With the advent of social media and the prevalence of blogs of all types, people are writing primarily about themselves and sharing their own stories. For people that don’t have blogs, the narcissism is omnipresent on Facebook in the way that people post status updates.
In layman’s terms: it’s all about you.
Only, it’s not. We need to stop sharing so much about ourselves and start listening to other people’s feelings. Somewhere along the way, in our vast world, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to have empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings.
I want to change that right now.
When you go on the Internet and you want to share something think: what did somebody else write that inspires me? That is a small way that we can change our thinking. I make a conscious effort to read, care about, and share other people’s stories online. Why do I do this? Not so that they’ll be my friend, not so that they’ll like me. I would be lying to you if those weren’t partially the reasons, but they are not the only reasons.
The primary reason I give a shit about other people’s pain, stories, blog posts, lives is that our culture has chosen not to. And I want to change that. I want to demonstrate genuine kindness towards others without asking for a G-d damn thing in return.
Why did I share what you wrote? Because I fucking love it. That’s why. I shared your personal truth because I relate to it and I want others to hear your voice. I didn’t do it because I want you to be my best friend. I did it because your story deserves to be heard. And that’s how we need to start thinking as a society.
We need to stop talking and start listening.
When I am engaged in a conversation with someone—anyone—I seem to always be waiting for my turn to speak.
I want to stop that shit and start genuinely caring about what they’re saying. I blame my attitude on the inherent self-absorbed climate that we live in. Most people that we speak to on a daily basis are not listening to us; really listening I mean. That’s what we need to change. We need to be silent in order to truly hear what another human being is saying to us. Don’t jump in immediately and start giving advice. Take a moment and internalize what that person just said to you. Maybe it took them a while to get to the emotional place where they were comfortable enough to speak their truth to you. Honor that, and give them the credit they deserve.
Once you’ve actually digested what your friend has told you, then you can respond, give advice, support, empathy compassion and love.
But first, just listen.
We can stop the inherent narcissism in our culture by flipping the table on it. All we need to do is give a shit about other people’s feelings. It’s not that difficult, but we need to be mindful and show the people in our lives that we do care.
Empathy is such a valuable asset in this world. We can learn so much by truly caring about another person without expecting something in return. I care about you because I love you as a person. I want to see you succeed. Additionally, it makes me feel good to do something kind for another human being. I get a rush from that shit.
Try it sometime—try being kind to that person on the bus who needs an extra dollar for the fare.
Listen to that mom on the playground who needs to vent about her husband.
Do good things and good things will come back to you.
The world needs more kindness.
It starts with you!
Photo: Benson Kua/Flickr