I don’t claim to, and never will, know why people behave the way they do. This is something I will forever struggle to understand, as I’m sure (and hope) many of you do as well. I should preface this entry by revealing a little more about myself that I originally thought I would, and quickly than I thought I would. I am highly critical of people. Everyone. People I meet, people I know, people I don’t even know but observe. For the longest time, my sense of who people are has come from almost a completely outside perspective, but one of careful watch and interpretation from what I can only, for the sake of simplicity, describe as a third-person perspective. I’m no stalker. No no no no. Distant? Yes. Outsider? Yes. Introverted? Very likely. Disconnected? Definitely not. But when you often find yourself in deep thought over something seemingly unworthy of the thoughts spared, then you will inevitably come to several realizations, as I did.
You will always have a first impression of someone, whether through personally meeting them or simply through observation. This is natural. This person is now up for your own personal interpretation which in turn will lead to you making an assumption about this person. Again, this is completely natural as it is essentially a reaction to a stimulus. But having an internal impression about someone, or a judgment, and being judgmental are two different things. These assumptions, impressions, and judgments are all internal and therefore fall in the abstract of thought. Should you decide to act on those thoughts and assumptions, then you are bridging the gap between what is harmless by virtue of naturality and what is harmful through discrimination, hatred, jealously, ect. Actions do speak louder than words, and occasionally, unfortunately, in facilitation of thoughts. Too often do we act on our impulses in this regard.
Consider for moment the journey you’ve taken in this life and the experiences that have brought you to where you are now. Few ups and downs here and there, eh? There was, and still might be, some heartache brought about through, or because of, other people. People you thought would be there for you in your time of need. People who you just assumed would treat you like they would want to be treated themselves. Can’t you recall ever being hurt by another person? Everyone can. It’s scarring. Even within our everyday interactions with one another, too often do we take each other for granted. Once we take a moment to realize that the person sitting next to you on the bus, driving in front you, or sleeping next door to you is just like you, battling their own demons and struggling to live out their life in search of some degree of happiness and fulfillment, then maybe we can see some similarities with one another despite the glaring differences. Don’t fault them for who they are, because they are just like you.
I suspect that if we can extend another thread or so of empathy towards others and took another second or two to listen to them, then we might lead more harmonious and lasting relationships with one other.