There is this little kid that I drive passed almost daily on the way to work. I don’t know what it is about him, but I think he is just the cutest. I love how he marches purposefully along, hand in dad’s, wearing his big boy clothes that he doesn’t quite fit into yet. As much as I enjoy seeing him, I always seem to feel a pinch of sadness as I wonder what world he is going to grow up in.
We all know what disarray the world is currently in. There doesn’t seem to be one country that isn’t in some form of turmoil, whether it has been publicized or carefully hidden. That being said, I am not actually talking about the world in that sense, I am talking about individual people. You, me, people on the street, people you interact with on a daily basis, whether it be in the shop, at the bank or at the dentist. People that make up the world.
A statement that we hear often is, ‘Chivalry is dead.’ And there is a part of me that has to agree. It is a term usually used against men, but I think of it in the broader sense to include both men and women, to include all people.
Chivalry: Bravery. Courage. Honour. Integrity. Justice. Truthfulness. Politeness. Courtesy. Consideration.
The reason I feel sad when I see this boy, is because I do feel a sense of loss. I feel we have lost the essence of what it is to be human, to be humble, to be kind.
My work requires me to work with the public A LOT, and I am often gobsmacked at the way people treat their fellow human being. People seem to think that they are entitled to treat others poorly and this often leaves me feeling heart broken. I have been shouted at, cursed at and hung up on more times than I can count. A colleague of mine has had things thrown back in her face – and I mean that literally. Another colleague of mine was publicly shamed on the local Facebook page where false accusations were made. To you, it may sound like I work in a loony bin..I don’t. I work at a veterinary hospital.
People don’t treat people like people anymore; and I see this daily. People don’t give of themselves and there’s no more going the extra mile. Truthfully, I even see this with some of the relationships in my own life. We have become so disconnected from one another, because we are so easily accessible through social media. They claim that they are bringing us closer to one another – But are we? When last did you have a deep meaningful conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in a while? Facebook, Instagram and the likes were once reasons to reach out to those you love, now they are reasons not to. Why should I reach out to a friend, when all I need to do is check her Facebook page to get a lowdown on what she is up to? Truth is, I don’t care what she is up to, I care what is in her heart, how she is, how is life, is she happy? And social media isn’t going to answer these questions.
These sort of connections just don’t cut it for me anymore. I am a deep person, and I love connecting with people and I love to take the time and find out how someone is doing, but sometimes it seems that people are so satisfied with the limited contact time that social media offers them. We are no longer available to those we say that we care about. I am going to be bold and blunt and say that people have become self-centered. Not self-centered in a ‘look at me’ kind of way, but self-centered in a ‘I am far too busy for you’. People don’t even pick up the phone to wish someone Happy Birthday anymore, in fact, if you are like me and don’t have Facebook, people tend to forget your birthday altogether. The world has become full of words, and very little action.
Maybe I sound harsh, or angry, but the point that I am trying to get at is that if we lose sight of the very people in our lives and stop viewing them as humans, then no wonder the world is so disconnected. How are we to view complete strangers as our fellow man – people with souls, and feelings and emotions; if we have struggled to do so in our personal lives?
I am also not blaming other people, but myself too. I sometimes become so wrapped up in what I am going through, or how extremely busy I am that I forget to check in with friends or family. Don’t tell anyone, but I honestly cannot remember the last time I literally picked up the phone, dialed someone’s number and spoke to them just because I wanted to know how they are doing. My form of communicating with people are generally quick Whatsapp messages or voice notes, because who has time to type a whole essay, right?
Call me old fashioned, but I just think that this has to change. Social media serves its purpose for those far away from you, but don’t let it hinder you and the relationships in your life. Don’t use it as an excuse not to reach out to a friend, maybe they could really use a shoulder to cry on in that moment, maybe they aren’t busy and maybe they actually have the time to pick up your call.
I know that the world is in a constant state of busy-ness and that sometimes it feels impossible to just come up for air. I am also not saying that you need to always be available to those around you because sometimes, if not often, one needs time out and time away to look after oneself, and sometimes one feels so empty that there is absolutely nothing left to give, and that is OK too. All that I am trying to say is that people have this amazing power to make or break your day. I have seen this first hand at work too. Someone gives you a genuine ‘Thank you!’ and a big smile and it is enough to make any bad day worth it.
I don’t know. I just feel that people have so much power in their hands and they’re abusing it. You have the ability to make someone’s day. You have the ability to be kind and caring. I think if we opened our eyes, we might see that change is possible in the world. Change is possible in a bad situation. Don’t sit there and think it is not going to change, because you, my friend, are the change.
Be kind. Be humble. Look people in the eye and acknowledge them as a fellow human being and maybe they will do the same..
and so on…
and so on…
and so on.