The trouble with people
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
This is my first blog post for a while. Not because I haven't had anything to say, but perhaps really because I've had too much to say. But all trapped inside.
I've been in this funny kinda mood for the last few weeks and it's taken me a while to figure out why. I've had spells of feeling anxious, feeling sad and feeling overwhelmed, and I just couldn't put my finger on why.
However, with the aftermath of last night's England match and while driving to teach my yoga lesson this morning, it finally all sunk in what's been bothering me. It's people!
It finally all sunk in what's been bothering me. It's people!
We are all completely different. Completely unique. Every single one of us. Each brain is wired differently. And to a large extent, we all believe that what our brain tells us is right.
We might slam Gareth Southgate because he chose the wrong players to take the penalties that lost us the game last night. We might think Jane from work is an awful person because she is cheating on her husband with another guy from work. We might think that our neighbour is weird and unfriendly because she didn't smile at us in the street on Friday morning when we drove past her.
Our mind takes the information it has received on this one occasion and processes it in a way that it believes is correct. The problem is, it only uses information from a specific snapshot of time and doesn't take other factors into consideration. Thus, it can't be a rounded and well-informed decision. Who are we to make these decisions that don't really belong to us to make? Gareth will have had informed reasons for making his selections. Jane might be in an un-loving and abusive marriage. And our neighbour might just have received some awful news.
If our brain was a jury, for example, it would take in all the evidence and supporting documentation to back up it's decision. However, instead, we are in such a hurry all the time that it's easier just to run with something that we've heard from the media or someone else say and tell ourselves that it's right. We make hundreds, maybe even thousands of assumptions every day. Constantly judging and processing and concluding.
we make hundreds, maybe even thousands of assumptions every day. Constantly judging and processing and concluding.
Where as previously (before 24-hr news and social media that is) we would come into contact with perhaps a couple of hundred people around us in our everyday bubbles and social circles. Our constant contact with people via online and social media is now giving us access to millions and billions of viewpoints, opinions and conclusions from all over the globe. It's playing havoc with our brains. It's stressing us out. Everyone seems to be wrong, their viewpoints conflicting. And it's making us all even more different and disjointed.
So, I think this is what's been overwhelming me lately. It's the fact that there is no solution to our social dysfunctions and the thought that things are only getting more and more dysfunctional as our world becomes more mobile and connected.
things are only getting more and more dysfunctional as our world becomes more mobile and connected
On a personal, daily level, there will always be those mums at school who are loud and brash and upset you with an off-the-cuff comment. There will always be moments when two people in different moods clash and upset each other in a chance interaction. And, there will always be sporting events which cause friction between different sides. And although disturbing for a while, we can kind of come to terms with these things as we can rationalise them and sometimes even influence the final outcome by altering our own thought patterns.
But then, on a deeper, more global scale, there will always be the sexists and the racists and the haters. There will always be the violence and the thugs and the abuse. Because the brains of the people who perpetrate these things are wired to think that what they think is right. The problem is now we see it all more, constantly everyday. It's exhausting. It's overwhelming. It's anxiety-provoking. And, we have very little influence over much of it.
Having finally let this sink in a bit this morning, it's weirdly made me feel a little calmer. Sometimes just accepting a lack of control of certain things helps to numb the panic.
sometimes just accepting a lack of control of certain things helps to numb the panic.
And after the panic fades, I find myself wanting to re-focus on the things that I can actually influence and help to make better. Even if only small.
Because I can't rewire the brains of the racists and the thugs and the psychopaths. But I can try to bring up my sons to be respectful, well-informed, and kind. I can think about the results of my own decisions and actions on those around me. And through my yoga lessons, I can help people to try to slow down their brains and manage their emotions a little better in certain situations.
And, maybe that's all I need to be doing right now instead of trying to single-handedly find a solution for world peace and all the chaos that the digital disruption has caused!