Are Good Hearts Dying Off?Here it is at last.
It’s finally hit me -that sudden realization that people everywhere are not inherently good.
Is this the last phase of childhood – the last step towards becoming just another jaded adult? Is this the final loss of innocence?
Twenty-five years into life and I’ve finally learned why you don’t meet people like you did when you were a kid. Back then they were all just pretending – lying to you to protect your naive outlook on life. You were just so cute that they were reluctant to taint you.
But you grow up and lose a bit of that baby fat, start sprouting pimples, and fighting with your own lanky limbs or lack of coordination and that’s when people stop trying to protect you. So what if you’re bullied at school? So what if your holidays aren’t as magical as they once were? So what if your dreams are tarnishing and no one wans to help you polish them?
Welcome to the harsh realities of life: No one gives a shit about you.
I mean, sure…your family still loves you and yes, they do genuinely care (at least in most cases), but it’s time to grow up. They’re done protecting your idealism. The world is about practicality and realism – it’s a tough love, but they figure, hey, you have to learn to sink or swim so they might as well throw you into the deep end and watch to see which you do.
At some point this year, I’ve come to realize that not everyone has the “heart of gold” that I always believed in. My parents did a good job raising me. I’ll toot my own horn here – and theirs – because I genuinely believe in going out of my way to help others.
You need a place to stay, and I have an extra room? Move the hell on in here – I’ll help you get back on your feet. Your computer just blew a $200 part and I have one extra laying around? Have it for free! It’s not like it’s being used. You’re behind on work and have to stay hours extra? Give me half of your load and I’ll help you out – if I can’t help, I’ll stay and keep you company.
I may not be perfect – in fact, I’ve got a lot of flaws – but I do my best. The thing that strikes me as odd, or rather…heartbreaking, is that very few others ever make the same attempts.
Amidst my willingness to help is an unusually fiery temper (I blame credit all the Irish/Scottish/etc. in me.) Now, it may be that the one causes the other… What I mean is: I am usually so willing to help that others see that as a trait to exploit – and exploit it they do.
“I need to study for a big exam or else I’ll fail this class and lose my scholarship. Do you think you can write our paper alone? I’ll help where I can.” My desire to help kicks in, and perhaps, an inability to say “no”, and I end up doing projects like this totally alone.
“I need to take off this week during the big rush to take care of some personal matters, can you cover for me?” Of course, I don’t mind. Because I don’t have any plans that can’t be rescheduled…and you really need the help, right? Besides, you’ll return the favor someday — EEEERRRCCCCHHHHH!!!! (That’s the sound of brakes screeching, by the way.) Return the favor? HAH! I was a fool to believe so.
But this is how it goes and it always continues until it’s clear to all parties involved, that it’s happening because we all know I won’t refuse. And even though I keep accepting these requests, that fire starts to burn deep inside me. I get angry, so angry that my good will is being abused.
It’s times like these that I realize this person is not a very decent human being – to constantly take advantage of someone who so genuinely wanted to help them; someone who was so genuinely concerned about their personal plight.
But that realization is crossing boundaries now. I’m starting to understand and believe that it’s not just that individual. This is how a majority of people behave.
What is it that causes others to look at me with the eyes of a cheetah that’s spotted a wounded elk? “Ah, she’ll do…she’ll do just fine.”
Why is it that people can look so honest and caring on the outside, that they can present that friendly, nurturing facade to the rest of the world and then, without a moment’s notice, BAM! They’ve a fist clutched around your heart and they’re ripping it out of your chest with a smirk…
I learned early on that it wasn’t wise to trust people. Yet, even though I always kept people at a certain distance, I still genuinely believed that everyone had to be good at heart – they were all inherently good people. They just had bad days, bad weeks….bad….months? Even bad years? I mean, come on? How far can you stretch that excuse?
The “real” world, the working world, the “grow up and be self-sufficient” world – it’s all just one big battlefield. Everyone’s out to get everyone else – or if they’re not, they’re at least looking out for no one but themselves.
I always likened those “it’s a dog-eat-dog world” sayings to the world of business – places like Wall Street in New York where there is fierce competition to get ahead, to become successful. You expect ruthlessness there. But it wasn’t a reference for general living because generally speaking most people are good. At least…that’s what I always believed.
Well, now I’m starting to think they had the right of things. Where are all of the selfless people? Where are the hands extended in friendship? The helping hands that don’t have shocking-buzzers hidden in them…?
It’s no wonder the world’s in so much trouble all the time.
Plato once said: “It is only the dead who have seen the end of war.”
And of course, now I can see why this is so true.