I find it kind of funny and also very sad that so many of us these days refuse to give others a chance to be part of our lives in the most basic ways. Even when it comes to making new friends, we come face to face with one hurdle after another created and maintained by society’s youth and it’s attitudes toward people who are different in even the smallest of ways. We’re living in a changing world; a world that is tackling gay rights, women’s rights, and individual rights in the face of overt governmental control, yet we seem to ignore the fact that the youth of America is in many ways more broken than it’s ever been.
We judge others by what they look like and what they wear, but rarely for the content of their character. Bullying has reached new heights and aggressive and sometimes elitist attitudes are the norm. Instead of valuing what each person can bring to the table, we are hung up on what we physically see. We’re so quick to judge and to make others feel out of place, that we never get the opportunity to explore the possibilities that could come from the personal connections that we make.
For those of us who do make it past that initial judgment stage, we then can’t make it past the “getting to know you” part of things because we immediately dismiss people who cannot provide us with immediate gratification of some sort or its equivalent in another aspect of the relationship. If we don’t get every little thing we want out of someone or that person isn’t exactly what we want out of a friend, we toss them aside, rather than find mutual understanding or a common ground where both people can thrive in the relationship, despite apparent differences.
I think a great deal of the problem is rooted in the fact that today’s youth not only doesn’t understand the value of friendship, but the definition of it as well. We treat others as things, rather than people, supporting the idea that our individual thoughts and feelings are the only ones that matter and that it’s perfectly acceptable to neglect the thoughts and feelings of those around us. We’re becoming a society where a “me-me-me” attitude is the norm and friendship is merely a means to an end, motivated by extrinsic factors only. People are simply interchangeable now and components of friendship that should be present are lost.
When we really stop to think about it maybe that’s why the world is so broken and divided. We’ve forgotten what it means to befriend and love those around us. We’ve forgotten what it means to value character above all else. We’ve forgotten what it means to look beyond ourselves – beyond our feelings, beyond our thoughts, and beyond our prejudices – to find something of value in those around us. Maybe it’s time to remember or even to begin again.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry
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