I’m not sure if it’s the sudden turn in the weather taking us almost directly to winter, the fact that it’s now dark by 6 p.m. or the stress of school and life in general, but there seems to be a large, dark, ominous cloud hanging over my head lately.
I can’t help but see the negative side of everything. Don’t get me wrong; I will almost always try to find a counter argument to something someone may bring up in a conversation or discussion. But it seems to be one of those weeks where you don’t want to deal with real people, if at all possible. Which of course, is not.
It’s very likely that this gloom and doom perspective I’ve adopted lately is the result of number of things, such as any of the aforementioned conditions. It could be the devastating results of Hurricane Sandy across the East Coast last week (on a very serious note, if you have not yet, please donate to relief funds, such as the Red Cross).
Or it could be a brief conversation I overheard between two Miami University students who were basically suggesting the idea of racial segregation on campus, and that if people don’t know how to speak English beforehand, they shouldn’t even come to America.
When I mentioned the overheard conversation, one friend told me that I was “too old to still have faith in people” and that I should cherish those last few bits. Another friend went the optimistic route and said that hope should never be lost.
It’s disheartening to hear and see these types of things happen. But I have come to realize that they happen everyday and everywhere. It makes me almost want to lose all hope in humanity.
We’ve been told time and time again that negativity gets you nowhere; that we should see the glass as half-full, and to always look on the bright side of life; that we should just ignore ‘Negative Nellie’ and ‘Debbie Downer.’
This is adequate advice, but we will always encounter those who just do not think this way. While we can’t change their minds, we can try to change the world around us.
I realize there will always be those people who can’t help but to be negative or cynical. I myself have a truly cynical and sarcastic personality, a darker sense of humor and always aim to be completely realistic about things.
But what separates me from those who have completely and truly lost faith in humanity is that I still want to believe in people. I want to believe that there are good people out there, who do good things for others not for self-satisfaction but because others need help.
Every college girl’s icon, Audrey Hepburn, is most known for being a fashion icon. The pictures we constantly see of her are as a classy, well-dressed, respectable woman. But in my opinion, what made her a true icon was the fact that she spent many years in Africa helping those in need. It was Ms. Hepburn herself who said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Fashion passes in a wink, but compassion and kindness last forever.
Something that comes up in my life every once in a while is the discussion of religion, or more specifically why I choose to believe what I believe. I am Atheist, or better yet, do not believe in any greater being or power. I feel as though ‘Atheist’ is a misnomer however, but another discussion for another time.
I remember when I was abroad in Rome, my friends and I were at the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, with a phenomenal view of the city laid out beneath us.
On the way down, one person made a comment that she couldn’t imagine someone who was not religious not being moved by this amazing church. I told her that I was not religious but was still moved, and simply saw it as beautiful architecture; a form of art created by other human beings, a way of expression.
I would never try to dissuade someone from his or her own thoughts or beliefs. But I didn’t further explain to my friend why I felt the way I felt.
I choose not to believe in some mystical or greater being because I want to believe in what’s real and what’s right in front of me. I want to believe in people. I really do believe there are good people out there, and I have seen many examples. It seems for every negative person, there is someone trying to do good for others or trying to better the world around them. Maybe it’s time we learn from these examples.