Are we humane enough to be called a human?
Off late, there have been talks about people suffering from mental illness such as depression to come out in the open, acknowledge their problems or the condition and interact with people close to them to let them know. And how many of us would actually do that? Depressed or not, showing emotions is something that does not come naturally to us. If it does, the fear of being judged or ridiculed rides high. Emotions such as love, fear, anguish or reactions to poverty, death, injustice and a lot more often end up being played on the television in slow motion, just to hype it up a bit more and garner more TRPs. How low have we stooped to be so comfortable playing with emotions just to lay hands on the advertisers’ money? In the current context, the success of one’s life is measured through the happiness that percolates through the ‘filters’ of social media. The number of likes determines whether you have been a hit or miss in your life.
As humans, we do love the game of playing the consultant that we end up giving sermons and lectures on how things could have been tackled. We are so consumed by narcissism that we forget that it is not about us; it is about them. The need to prove ourselves better than the others drives us to assume the role of a consultant – an expert of sorts. We offer opinions on what needs to be done trying to show our analytical side of the brain dissecting the matter. We point out the mistakes and show the mirror, a bit too close to the sufferer. We often talk about people being in depression not getting a chance to share their thoughts with people close enough to them. I often wonder about this ‘close circle of family and friends? Are they empathetic enough to lend you an ear or two? Do these belong to that type of people who would just shut up and LISTEN? Like JUST LISTEN. And not offer anything else.
Having a human-like face topped with a head with a brain inside it and being able to walk on two legs sure makes you Homo Sapiens but are you humane enough to be called a human? Qualities like compassion for others irrespective of the life form or being able to take time out for others just for their pleasure and not with a thought of gaining is something that will go extinct in the near future. We are turning into programmed humans who are wired to do certain things at certain times because of years of conditioning. For example, we get up at a particular time in the morning not because we realize its benefits but because our parents and elders told us so. There are many such things that we do because we have been conditioned to act or think in a certain fashion and never have we ever put a thought to it. The current crop of humans is slowly getting a taste of their own medicine. We as children were taught to be wary around strangers and not trust others so easily. And today, we have people who live such guarded lives that showing emotions is a big deal for them. Episodes of compassion and caring are looked in awe because that has become so rare while it should have been a foundation quality of humans.
Long ago when I was in my college perhaps, I had come across a term on the internet – Empathetic Accuracy. At that point, the internet was just bursting on the scene and not much was available on the term. Not many could tell me what it exactly meant. But, today after having years of wisdom behind my ears, I know what it means. It means to possess the ability to infer one’s thoughts and feelings. This is not meant to know and influence the other person but to understand their perspective and connect with them at a deeper level. There are many ways to do so such as via
- Body language
- Reading their eyes
- The behaviour of a person
- The tone of the voice etc.,
Being empathetic is such an underrated human quality. It is often taught to people as a session in training programs. While this should have been something that needs to be taught in our homes by the people around us since childhood. I really do not think that merely attending a training session or two to learn empathy can teach you anything about it. We as humans need to do some introspection as to where are we heading as a race? Do we have the time to stop and look around to see the inherent goodness in another human being? Do we have the patience to understand and believe in them as much as the other person would have liked us to?
It is important as humans for us to let go of our unfound prejudices, mental biases, judgments, ridicule and start recognizing others as humans too. As they say, you do not understand pain till you go through it. It is time that we are most accommodating and accepting and less judgmental of others who are not like us. Let us learn to live a life of freedom not of the physical sense but also of the mental space. Our fears should no longer pass on to the future generation making them slaves of our own design. Otherwise, we would soon end up with vilified minds, greedy hearts which do not know how to give out warmth, love, peace and kindness. We must stop right here, right now otherwise before we realize the constant pressure to conform to a certain way will weigh us down slowly and surely. It is high time that we see the menacing shackles of this pressure of conforming wraps its chains and pulling out shackled ankles into an ever-expanding abyss of self-loathing and depleting self-esteem.
By Priyanka Kanjilal
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