When I was at school, boys always seemed to be mean. They’d tease me incessantly about any number of things – one even went to the extreme of putting itchy powder down my back on a regular basis. When I would ask my mother why they would do this, she would simply tell me that it was because they ‘liked’ me. Clearly, at a young age, and slightly less ‘worldly’ than I am now, I didn’t realise the kind of like that she was insinuating. As I got older, it made no sense why they would be deliberately mean to me to show they ‘liked’ me. Weren’t these actions counterproductive?
The real problem here, apart from my mother’s short-sightedness, was that I had no idea what these boys were going through, or how they had been brought up. Just because I’d been taught to show care and affection one way, doesn’t mean that this was universal.
I guess there’s an expectation that kids will be nasty in one way or another because they’re not yet ready to express themselves succinctly. They don’t know how they’re feeling or how to project their feelings in a way that makes them understandable to others. This is reiterated when you become a parent and see your child frustrated, almost daily, because they can’t address what they are clearly feeling or thinking.
As adults, there seems to be a higher expectation. We expect that people are going to carry themselves on a much higher level. Sometimes, this just isn’t the case. We all know that person, right? The one that never has a nice word to say, has to put others down, gossips, nasty…the list could go on ad infinitum. We’ve all hated that person for the nasty comments they make towards us. Talked about how horrible they are. There’s one thing that I wonder…Have we ever really considered why that person is the way they are? What battles is that person waging internally? What home, work, family life is like for them?
We’re not born nasty people. Events, traumas, life…it all shapes us in to who we are today. It could be that person who is being mean to you is really sad within themselves. I know when I’m not in a great place; anyone around me is seemingly in the firing line. It’s completely unintentional and I feel awful afterwards, but unconsciously, am I trying to make those people feel as bad as I do?
So, we need to ask the question…
Do we hurt others because we are hurting?
We come in to this world as clean slates. And, perhaps this is where the nature versus nurture argument really takes hold. How much of who we are is because of our genetics? How much of who we are is because of our environment?
Along the way, somewhere, my life course took drastic detours because I found myself influenced by other people who were perhaps dealing with an ugliness that was put inside of them by other hurting people. They in turn handed the baton to me and I wasn’t in a strong enough mindset to see that for what it was. It shaped me, influenced me; changed me.
Is being mean to someone really a cry for help?
I know many people who, after having been hurt, have basically thrown their hands in the air and said that they simply cannot fight the nasty people anymore and that they should become them.
Through completing the Find Your Calling program, I have decided that I do not want to take this path. Accepting negativity into your life only breeds negativity. You are essentially feeding the flame by allowing the comments to have an affect. Repelling negativity is one of the biggest lessons I learned from my time doing the CCH program.
I have begun to wonder more about the people who have been mean to me. What is going on behind those eyes, within that soul, that they don’t let anyone see? What has caused them to be the way they are and think that’s ok?
Let’s be honest here. It’s so easy to judge people; far too often we take the easiest route to dealing with a problem. But what if we took the path less travelled? What if we perhaps took the time to consider these people and the problems that they may be facing, we might better understand them rather than crucify them. Maybe the mean people wouldn’t be mean if acceptance of that meanness wasn’t so easy?
It is so much more difficult to understand why a mean person is just that. Understanding requires levels of patience and compassion that often we cannot bring ourselves to apply to these mean people. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we, as human beings, could approach people whose lives have taken a different tack to that which they thought it was going to take, who are so unhappy with their life that they feel they had to bring others down and treated them like our best friends? What if we could fathom that sometimes people with good hearts can sometimes utilise the wrong methods to extinguish their hurt?
Instead of pushing these people away with judgment and allowing them to represent something within us, what if we opened our arms to them and encouraged them to let go of the hurt to be free; to grow?
In taking away the hurt that can be present in people’s words and actions, we remove the power that they have to affect us. Imagine how much freer your world would be if the nasty was only words and had no emotion attached? Better yet, imagine a world where we could accept others faults for what they are and try to help them, rather than allow them to be the change that alters our path?
A single mum who devotes her life to her son. Kate is an inspiration to everyone who has been through tough times. Her insightful writing explores her own deep inner struggles that many women can relate to. She is courageous and hopes that her writing can help other women break through the barriers that hold us back, through her personal life stories.