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Don’t look back in anger…

What’s wrong with the world?

There appears to be so many dissatisfied, unhappy, desperate people around who feel the need to demonstrate their anger and frustration in a violent manner.  Have people stopped caring?  In a recent article, psychologist Peter Honey suggests “When people are caught up in crowds, they do things they would not normally do…and don’t concern themselves with consequences.”

The line between right and wrong isn’t always as clear cut as you might think.  What’s deemed acceptable in some circles, cultures and societies can be taboo in others, however I believe most ‘normally wired’ people know the ‘rules’.  I was taught that stealing is wrong, which means you won’t see me looting shops; however, I have been known to take home the odd piece of stationary from work!  Is that less of a crime?  How far would you go?  And…what circumstances would make you break the law or fail to do the right thing?  What makes you abide by societal ‘norms’ and when would you choose to blatantly disregard them?

Honey also maintains that “External situations have a massive impact on human behaviour. Any of us, caught up in a lawless situation where anything goes, is capable of appalling acts of selfishness.”

Perhaps it’s a case of self preservation!  It strikes me that the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ has widened.  There is tremendous pressure to ‘succeed’.   Now success can mean very different things to each of us, however there seems to be increased pressure to measure our ‘worth’ by the things you accumulate rather than the person you are.  Personally, I don’t believe what you’re worth can be measured in ‘stuff’; it has to start with self!  Who are you?  What do you believe in?  What and who is really important to you? 

It’s not easy to understand the motives of others when your reality contrasts so widely with theirs.  Since being involved in the hiring and firing of young adults on a future jobs funded project over the last year, I have been exposed to a wider variety of realities.  It’s been fascinating to observe how the same opportunity has been embraced fully by some and dismissed by others.  Their lives contrast massively from mine and that of the people they’ve worked with, so understanding their behaviour has been challenging.  Many of the issues that have arisen during the project have been addressed with one simple skill…ATTITUDE.  And it all starts with a healthy, honest, respectful personal relationship…the one you have with yourself.  How can you possibly develop a great relationship with others if you have little, or no self respect?

A friend of mine informed me that when her son was little he would introduce himself to new people and ask the following question…What are you for?  Great questions isn’t it?  Think about it…in four simple words he asked you to consider your purpose, the reason for your existence, your values.  When I first heard the story I reflected on how I would answer and realised what a tough question it is if you really want to do it justice.  Perhaps if more people really thought about this there’d be more tolerance, kindness and compassion.

I’ve been reviewing my own set of values over the past few weeks and it occurred to me that many people may not even consider theirs unless they become challenged in some way.  Do you stop to consider why something someone has said or done has offended you?  Which of your values has it challenged, or trampled on?  How you respond to their action or inaction will say more about you than them!

I’ve no answers to the questions surrounding the current social unrest…I’ll leave that to the politicians.  I do however think that the right attitude, a willingness to communicate openly and honestly and a healthy self respect go a long way to creating a better environment.

I’ll leave the last words to the Dalai Lama “If asked my religion I would say it was kindness.” 

Jacky Leonard 

Copyright notice:
This article was published with kind permission of the author.

The original article can be found on the authors blog page.



Contributor: Jacky Leonard @

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