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I feel so down about humankind at the moment.(8 Posts)
I feel like we, in the wealthier parts of the world at least, are so self-obsessed and superficial. Every now and again I read or hear a nice story about someone doing something genuinely nice and it does warm me a bit, but on the whole I feel like we are getting worse. I don't know if this is just my depression coming out. Please don't flame me. I'm not saying I hate everyone and I'm not saying I'm immune from criticism.
Everything just feels so fake to me now. I feel like for so many people, it's all about image and looking good and buying more stuff and posting it on social media... I feel like many people do stuff just so they can post it on social media.
I feel like many people have lost appreciation for, I don't know, nature, kindness, individuality. I just feel really gloomy about it all and the feeling won't go away.
I think its easy to see the kind of thing you are talking about. I also think that if you look closer there are so many little acts of kindness and generosity that happen arround us every day unreported. All the volunteers for charities all over the place, samaritans springs to mind instantly. The food bank donation bins in our supermarket are always generously filled. Just a couple of examples. A lot of people don't promote the charity work they do, or don't think twice about little acts of kindness that they do every day, so we never hear about them.
Maybe I need to actively seek out the kindness. You're right it is very easy to see the bad things. I have been stuck indoors for nearly two weeks due to (physical) illness which I don't think is helping my mood.
I think a big problem is that the news only focuses on negative stories, and pretty much all news outlets report the same things. So if you're reading things online it can really skew your vision of humanity. But as no longer says, those everyday acts of kindness are everywhere but just not highlighted.
For example, i managed a befriending service for isolated older people. The volunteers and people they befriended were just incredible, they'd stick together for years often until the older person sadly passed away. But watching their relationship develop and the huge impact it would have on self esteem, mental health etc, was really beautiful. I had one pair where an older bedridden lady ended up teaching this 18 year old student I'd matched her with another language she was fluent in, it was amazing, she just loved it.
I kind of understand what you're talking about though, I've felt that way myself in the past. Kindness is hugely important and, I think, totally underrated. But the beauty of kindness is its humility - it's not blazoned across the front pages when someone is kind, but it is absolutely everywhere once you start to look.
What really set me off was meeting up with an old friend of mine for the first time in ages. It was a couple of weeks ago, before I got ill. All she seemed to care about was going to the best bars and restaurants, make up contouring and skin products. It was beyond taking pride in your appearance, it just came across as really shallow. She was criticising a woman at work because she doesn't wear make up and dresses "like a frump". It shocked me because the old friend I knew would never have done that. I'd already been feeling down and that just cemented it. I know it sounds like a ridiculous overreaction and I sound judgemental, but she was noticeably different to the person I knew and it felt like the final straw on a long list of negative things.
The befriending service sounds really lovely. And I agree completely about humility. Actually someone was really kind to me today, in a quiet way, and they didn't have to be. I will pass it on. I know kindness does still exist and I know good things happen all the time. I do feel less gloomy now. I went for a walk today for the first time in a while which helped. I really like your final paragraph about kindness, Ebben. Very nice way of explaining it.
There's a lot of dreadful stuff happening all over. Always has been, trouble is we know intimate details these days.
I feel pained by human cruelty too so completely sympathise. And so many people are selfish greedy and shallow. We are steered that way. Some of us reject it.
Can you avoid the news in all forms and get out into nature? Plus see friends who get you and aren't thick? This helps.
Also I try hard to be a good decent human regardless. Don't always manage it...
You need to look after your body and mind so you can be a force for good in a shitty world.
Sorry for the length of this, but I just love this quote on kindness by Derren Brown, especially the last paragraph:
The single most valuable human trait, the one quality every schoolchild and adult should be taught to nurture, is, quite simply, kindness. Kindness. If you prefer, compassion. Even benevolence. It is the quality that makes people lovely…
Be kind. It is a richer project than may at first be obvious. For example, it can involve stepping out of what is emotionally immediate, and realising in moments of everyday conflict that those with whom we’re arguing are most likely taking a standpoint equally as justifiable (to themselves) as ours. Kindness may involve preferring to understand the other’s one–sided view in such situations rather than blindly pushing our own. If we are prepared not to concern ourselves with the immediate blow to our pride that comes from conceding in this way, we can enjoy the warm glow later when we feel like the greater man or woman, rather than lying awake in bed fuming with rage, replaying arguments and running imaginary conversations with ourselves that make us even more livid. Ideally, this ability to detach emotionally when approaching conflict, and to look for connections rather than stand aghast at someone else’s apparent bloody–mindedness, is to be combined with an otherwise emotionally open and empathising personality. That is where the perfect balance is struck, where we would be best positioned to have a pleasant effect on others…
Kindness makes us all happier…
Each of us is leading a difficult life, and when we meet people we are seeing only a tiny part of the thinnest veneer of their complex, troubled existences. To practise anything other than kindness towards them, to treat them in any way save generously, is to quietly deny their humanity.
I love that Deren Brown bit. I can also tell that he is NLP ( neurolinguistic programming ) trained. Once you have been taught NLP it becomes the way you think, it certainly changed my life for the better.
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