Flourish

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The news is so depressing. It’s amazing how poorly we as human beings, treat other human beings. Where does this disregard for others comes from and when does it start?

I have a 4 year old, and I see interactions amongst his schoolmates that are sometimes less than kind. This of course, is on a preschool level, so we’re talking, not sharing, excluding others, name calling etc… Young children get a pass, as they are still learning the concepts of sharing and being kind to one another. We gently correct and guide them on how to behave and hope that carries over into their later years.

Teenagers, I have one of those too, they seem to ramp up their antipathy in middle school. The cliques grow tighter, the personalities get stronger and the empathy lessens. They bully each other subtlety by alienating, belittling, and disparaging.

As adults we should be better. Our brains are fully matured, we know the difference between right and wrong. Yet, not only are the adults my age behaving poorly to one another, I see it in my parents social circle. These people are in their 70 and 80’s, and sometimes their drama outshines that of the high schoolers.

This has been on my mind a lot lately, as I’ve been trying to help my daughter through some tough social issues at school. I want to help her develop skills to be a better friend, and a kinder and more compassionate human being.

The following is what I came up with for her, as well as for myself. 

1. Empathize 

When someone is rude, have you considered that maybe they are having an awful day. Maybe they just found out someone they love is sick, or they just got fired or got a speeding ticket. Try to disarm them with your kindness. You never know what positive reaction you might get. And if you don’t, at least you tried, that should make you feel good.

2. Listen

Talking is easy, but are you a good listener? Next time a friend is telling you about a problem or something good that happened to them, check yourself. Are you taking in the information and offering feedback? Feeling like you are being heard and supported builds goodwill between friends.

3. Smile

People often mistake me for being stuck up or bitchy before they get to know me. The reason is, when I’m not smiling I look mad. Lately, I have been making more of an effort to smile, and the difference is remarkable. People are more kind, receptive and engaging. It’s the easiest thing you can do to show kindness.

4. Be complimentary

Many of us are shy by nature, we struggle reaching out to people in social settings. Paying someone a compliment is a great way to start a conversation and ingratiate yourself with that person.  

5. Stop complaining

I challenge you, not to complain about a single thing for 24 hours. Sounds simple right? It’s not! You will be amazed at the amount of times you stop yourself from voicing a complaint or a negative thought.  We all complain A LOT. By minimizing our complaining and being conscious of what we are saying, a more positive frame of mind may develop. Practice replacing the negative thought with a positive one. You may be surprised by what you learn about yourself.

There is an abundance of hatred and negativity in the world, lets kick ass with love!

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

  • VANESSA GROENING
    November 21, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I love this, we all need a little more empathy

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