empathy

You Too Can Stop Being An Asshole And This Is How

Imagery by  Manjari Sharma

Imagery by Manjari Sharma

Lately, we’ve all heard of many young people dying. For many months, the media has been full of stories of children being murdered and refugees dying in search of a new life. On October 30th, a nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, killed 27 people on the spot, and 33 more died in hospitals. Then, there was Paris. The truth is, people, young people, die senseless deaths every day, right next to us. And we are busy chasing profit and exploiting each other. We are busy being hateful to each other for reasons that are, in most cases, no good.

None of these lost lives was more important than the other. They were all human beings with families, friends, loved ones, with hopes, dreams, beliefs, ideas and now they are gone. For good.

There’s an extremely vulgar tendency that appears in the comment sections of various articles that can be summarized as, “Why do you cry because X died, but you don’t cry because Y died?” Please, do go on, I would love to hear more about which absurd, untimely death I should consider more tragic than the other and whose life mattered more. Then again, on second thought, don’t.

This, I believe, is connected to the fact that many seem to have a difficulty – or even a lack of will – to acknowledge the humanity of people they don’t know. “You are not me and you are not one of mine, and therefore you do not matter and might as well be an inanimate object.” The ease with which internet trolls tell people to “go die” and “go kill themselves” is nothing short of terrifying. That is a HUMAN BEING you’re talking to. Do you think you are immune to death? Do you believe nothing can happen to you? Do you have the slightest idea of the living hell of depression and anxiety, which actually does drive people to kill themselves?

We hate each other for the stupidest reasons. We hate people of different skin colour, LGBTQ people, feminists, anti-feminists, conservatives, liberals, vegans, meat eaters, the rich, the poor, hipsters, corporate employees, fat people, skinny people… Isn’t it tiring to hate so much? To constantly feed your hatred?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should like everyone. I think it’s impossible to like absolutely everyone. However, the reason for your dislike should not be something that the person has no control over (like skin colour) or a personal choice that doesn’t harm anyone else (like veganism). It’s also important to maintain a civil attitude towards the people we may not like. There are two little things called “fair-play” and “agreeing to disagree” that could be very useful to many people.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but, for me, all the senseless deaths I’ve heard of recently have really forced me to put things into perspective. I realized that I often get upset because of silly things and that I hold grudges over silly things. I have done a lot of thinking about the kind of person I want to be. And I want to be someone who treats people with equity. It’s not worth it to become upset over a differing opinion or preference. It’s not worth it to call people names on the internet. It’s not worth it to hold on to grudges. What is worth it is getting along. It’s not easy and it takes will and honest effort, but it truly is worth it.

To quote one of my favourite movies of the ‘80s and of all time, namely, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: “Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!” Because, you know, life is short, dudes.

 

Anca Rotar is a Romanian-born writer, over-thinker and caffeine addict. She is the author of two books, Hidden Animals and Before It Sets You Free, both available from Amazon.com. Among her interests, which she finds it hard to shut up about, she counts fashion, yoga, city breaks and deadpan sarcasm. She is also currently studying Japanese, so wish her luck. You can sample bits of Anca’s creative writing here.

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