Sorry, Most People Are Not…

If I could wish one thing for humanity it would be to get to a place where we are considerate of each other.

And I know, as you read this, you’re thinking, “I’m considerate.”  No, sorry, most people are not. We do the bare minimum and then, when we do it, we tend to announce it or need applause for it.

Have you noticed how many people are called “heroes” nowadays for doing the most basic things?  There’s a clip going around on LinkedIn that I’ve seen on other social media where young boys are helping an elderly man step off a bus. Yes, it’s a lovely gesture, but do you know why it’s so “lovely”?  Because it’s rare nowadays. Because we’re not normally considerate of each other.  It’s rare because when we do something that should be a normal act of decency, we think it’s going out of our way and in need of some sort of special acknowledgment.  These boys were rewarded with cash for their “amazing” gesture. That’s how rare it is. Someone thought to give them a cash prize for being…one sec, let me check my notes…decent.

I remember growing up in the ’80s riding the trolley in Boston and always standing up and giving my seat to an elder. It wasn’t special. It’s what you did. It’s what was expected.  If you’re able-bodied and could stand and hold on, then an older person, deserved that seat.  It wasn’t applause-worthy then and it shouldn’t be now, it’s just the right thing to do. But in the world, we live in, Keanu Reeves gets up to let a woman sit down and everyone is shocked and the video goes viral! I’m far more stunned that Keanu is riding the subway as an A-list celebrity out of concern for his safety, but most people are beside themselves that he would give up his seat for another person. Really?

We’ve lost our way as human beings on several levels, and I wish we’d find our way back. 

If we cared about one another, and truly valued each other as human beings, we’d do more to help one another regularly. We wouldn’t sit back and allow others to get hurt in any fashion. It wouldn’t be heroic to stop the bully or extraordinary to help the homeless. We wouldn’t allow people to suffer needlessly. When someone was feeling down or in a slump, we’d notice and ask them how they were doing. We’d easily give them a seat or show concern. We’d care.

I’m rarely confused when a gunman kills a bunch of people and the neighbors say, “I didn’t know he was…”.  We’re all so self-absorbed as a society we don’t notice anything at all about anyone until it affects us personally. Then, we notice. And my favorite part, we all then wonder why no one else noticed or did something to help them…  the fucking irony.   

It’s the little things too. I have neighbors who will sit in their apartments with the windows fully open (because it’s so hot out), talking on the phone while on speaker. All you really hear clearly is their responses to a screeching inaudible but loud noise on the other end.  The reverberation is incredibly annoying. When you’re not a considerate person, you don’t even think about how your behavior might be affecting another person around you. It’s not even a thought. A considerate person might think: if it’s super-hot out, is it possible that other people have their windows open too? Should I be on speaker phone talking so loudly that it might possibly disturb others? It’s the same reason why people don’t use their directional while driving (or “blinker” as we call them in Boston).  These people are so inconsiderate because they don’t care whether or not someone knows where they’re about to go. They don’t see how their actions (or non-actions) could have consequences to other people and cause an accident. I have said this so many times, and I stand by it:  I can tell the kind of person someone is just by the way they drive. If you’re an ass while driving, you’re an ass in every day life. Same with how you treat the wait staff…

I know, this may all seem nonsensical and so small – but you know, it all matters. It’s the little things. And all of those build up to the bigger things.

Being considerate means intentionally caring about others – understanding how you affect another person with your behavior.  Being considerate is also a function of having manners. Yes, you’ll give up your seat because it’s the right thing to do when you’re able-bodied and someone else is not. Or maybe you do it because you know you had an easy day compared to someone else who just jumped on the train, who might have finished an 8-hour shift working and could use the rest more. Being considerate is helping someone who is using a walker get off a bus, not because you’ll be rewarded, but because human beings should want to help and protect each other from harm. 

Sadly, the more we congratulate and award what used to be normal behavior, the less we do it ourselves and the more extravagant it is when we see it.

I implore anyone reading this to do something considerate today. Not to be acknowledged, not to announce it to the world, but in the hopes that we start finding our way back to being good and decent human beings who actually care about each other.

con·sid·er·ate

adjective

  1. careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others.
  2. showing careful thought.

This is my wish for humanity – yes. Because this wish, above all others, would do the most good in several meaningful ways. I could wish to end all hunger, but if we’re not considerate of each other we’d end up right where we started…right where we are right now.

I still have hope for us yet.

Carmen

Header Photo by Saroj Gajurel

First Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Photo by lalesh aldarwish

10 thoughts on “Sorry, Most People Are Not…

  1. I feel you here, for some reason things have become a bit messed up – we have to ask it it becasue it’s so rare or just we’re made to think it’s so rare. I dunno – I’m undecided.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Carmen,
    I enjoyed reading this post and very much agree with all that you said. What should be normal and decent has become extraordinay.
    When you talked about your neighbours it reminded me of a neighbourhood I lived in where it was normal for neighbours to play music loudly, literally the whole neighbourhood could hear it. I would feel so angry and frustrated, sometimes even cry.

    On another note I do believe that there are many people who do kind and considerate acts each day, just for the sake of doing it and not to be seen. I want believe that more such persons exist than those who do it to be noticed.

    Indeed the world would be a lot better if we all commit to being considerate of each other.

    Like

    • Thank you Leona. And yes, I think you’re right. I want to believe that there are more considerate people out there than I’m seeing on a regular basis lately. I really do still have hope in humanity. (Neighbors…. I guess I should count my blessings that I’m not dealing with loud music — thank you for the reminder! I don’t know how you dealt with that…). I appreciate you taking the time — thank you! And nice to “meet” you. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. P.S. (Wish we could edit our comments here) Have you noticed how many good news stories about people helping others is rooted in self-praise? i.e. They set up the camera first, then go help whoever needs helping, then post to Reddit or Instagram for the glory. Unbelievable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Yes to all of it. But yeah, LinkedIn is so full of those kinds of stories and it’s bothersome to me that people are more concerned with the camera angle than actually chipping in and helping in the situation. That’s how you can usually tell it’s so bogus. Either way, it’s about THEM and not really about informing about the situation. Such a sad place we’re at.

      But also, what you wrote above — I hear you 100%. I think as adults, we have the choice to be continue being a victim of our circumstance, or do the hard thing and find a way to be better anyway. I’m not saying it’s easy. But for every story I may have that is horrible about my childhood, I can easily find 10 people who had a similar or worse situation than mine could ever be. Wallowing in what went wrong is one way to go — the other way to go — is to make sure I never intentionally cause anyone else any pain at all… I really do live by that idea. When I know better, I’ll do better. And refuse to be mean to people just because people were once mean to me…

      (I don’t know what you want to revise — I love everything you wrote! But if there’s something, let me know — I can edit comments on my end for my posts. But I appreciate everything you said!) 💕🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Carmen! I didn’t want to revise anything so much as add my p.s. to the original comment instead of needing to create a new one. I’m sure there’s a way to edit (I use WordPress too!) but I have yet to figure out how. : )

        I think you’re right. You and I and so many others have made a conscious choice to treat others better than the way we were treated as kids. I think the difference might be in how we processed all the negativity from childhood: that we didn’t buy the negative stuff our elders tried to tell us was true.

        The more selfish people in our society – or some of them anyway – bought their elders’ opinions, lock stock and barrel, to the point where they now hate themselves and can’t see anything good about anything. There’s a reason people act the way they do. I doubt very many of us are complete psychopaths, completely incapable of apathy – although god knows there’s a lot of them around too.

        This is a fun conversation to have, by the way! : )

        Like

        • I can see the hate in some people for sure. I do step away from those folks because I don’t have the energy to walk on through that. It takes a lot of work and strength to move along from our circumstances. And, the one thing I know for sure, are my limitations. I can only handle so much cruelty from another person. I don’t do selfish folk anymore — toxicity in my life is not an option. It is kinda fun chatting this way — though I’m stuck between zoom calls answering you back. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m seeing a lot of coldness around me lately too, Carmen, and a lot of it seems to have worsened after COVID. (Not to suggest that as an excuse). People seem to be realizing things about themselves from the enforced isolation. Some have become happier, but an awful lot have gotten depressed.

    Another thing that occurs to me: an awful lot of people don’t appear to be able to love themselves either. I would suggest that empathy is hard to come by when you yourself are lacking it. I look at people like that and ruminate and how awful some of their lives must have been as they grew up.

    At the end of the day, it’s like Robbins’ said “Adults are just tall children who’ve forgotten how to play.” I look at people lately and can genuinely see what they were like as kids. It comes through. When you’re a kid and are playing house or office or tea party or whatever, you can see the seriousness in kids’ eyes. (I played spaceman and alien myself but then that’s what weirdos like me did back then). : ) I still see that same seriousness in adults’ eyes – it’s exactly the same only this time they’re more invested than kids would be during a Saturday afternoon game.

    Liked by 1 person

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