We easily dismiss the things we don’t understand. That’s one of the reasons why I think people are mean. Just think about a time you weren’t able to grasp something. You may have even made the effort to understand it, but you ended up disliking it from the onset. If we just see the world with empathetic eyes we can help avoid being mean.
NOT THE RIGHT TIME OR MINDSET
Think about when you were a kid and you listened to the radio. You may have heard a song that you didn’t like and changed the station. There would be times where you were forced to listen to it, but you just really didn’t like it. You tried to see why others (possibly older) liked it, but to no avail.
Then when you got older you heard it again, but with new ears. Maybe you were more open, wiser, or your personality changed.
This is something I experienced and it helped me to understand that I shouldn’t dislike things just because I don’t understand them. A song that comes to mind is Yellow by Coldplay. It was slow, Chris Martin kept saying yellow which didn’t seem to mean anything, and the video had him walking on a beach. At my age when the song was a chart topper it didn’t make sense to me. It sounded bland and boring.
Fast forward to today and I find it to be an incredibly beautiful song. I know love and empathize more easily. Even if I still don’t know what Chris Martin really means in a lot of his older lyrics, I can hear what he means.
EMPATHY AND COMPASSION
Knowing how disenchanted I was with that song and video as a kid I can appreciate that not only can that happen to me today, but it probably happens to others as well. It’s easy to go to uncaring when you don’t understand why you should care in the first place. Empathy and compassion is something this world can always use more of.
The next time you read, hear, or see how groups of people or individuals can be mean towards one another just remember that sometimes they’ve overlooked empathy. From the very beginning there was no understanding which created frustration and ultimately led to anger and negativity.
You can’t look at others and think that you or I are any different. Everyone has these moments in our lives. It’s not always our fault. Sometimes our minds are just not ready for understanding. Maybe we just need time and patience. The next time you find yourself in this situation and can’t find understanding just take a deep breathe and let it go. Just walk away and let it be for a while. Return another day and perhaps it’ll make sense to you and you can approach it with empathy and compassion.
If you find that you’re mad about things perhaps these are the words you need to help you. I hope they are.
Jonathan How is the photographer behind Made by Ten and calls Milton his home. He specializes in creating beautiful, creative portraits of real women. He uses photography (and this blog) to help them build confidence and love for themselves and creates artistic images for their homes and offices. You can see him driving around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada from portrait to fashion shoot and back again.