Mean: unkind or cruel
Today’s word is mean. It took me about two minutes to decide what to blog about, stemming from a book I read yesterday evening that kept me awake for a good part of the night. The book told a story about what I can only describe as mean people… and it was mean that I lost my sleep! The book was Beartown by Fredrick Backman, and I will write up a review about it later, as I don’t want to duplicate any thoughts here. You check it out via this link.
I am not a mean person. I have done a few mean things over the course of my lifetime, but I could count them on both hands and probably still have one or two fingers available for the future. Being mean is something that’s only ever come out of me when absolutely pushed to the edge, unable to find any recourse elsewhere. They’re certainly not moments I’m proud of, but youth or anger can get the better of you at times.
I spent part of the evening thinking about what it takes for someone to innately be a mean person. Is it something built into their DNA? Is it an amalgamation of awful experiences? Is it learned by watching others around them?
Then I began wondering whether or not mean people even know they are mean. Or have they justified actions such that it feels like acceptable and normal behavior?
Let’s qualify a few examples of what I’m referring to as mean: (a) you intentionally say rude or harmful things to another person just for the sake of wanting to insult them, (b) you take or steal something important because you want it badly and don’t give a hoot what happens to the other person, (c) you physically hurt somebody just because you can, (d) you purposely set someone up for a fall to see them lose. I could go on for days here, but you get the point.
I may think of doing a negative action, letting that unkind or cruel thought ride the waves in my brain for a moment or two, but I stop myself before it ever happens. It’s just not in me to do something like that… unless it’s extreme retaliation or utter frustration and anger. But there are people who simply go about their lives with those tactics in the forefront of their mind. I struggle to understand how something like that can happen.
Do they feel remorse? Do they assume it is just a small practical joke? Are they hurting and just feel it’s lashing out? Mean is unnecessary. To people. To children. To animals. To anything. There are thousands of other options to avoid being mean.
It starts in childhood, often in school. You’ve probably seen the movies “Cruel Intentions” or “Mean Girls,” where it’s an uber-experience in being utterly unkind and awful. I think back to my own experience, be it grammar, middle or high school, and I have several examples of kids being mean. I was never one of them. But I’m not bragging or trying to pat myself on the back. I’m thinking about why it happens…
I never felt a need to demoralize or demean someone else. I’m no saint. If someone tripped, I probably giggled. If someone looked bad, I probably made a mental note and either laughed or smirked. I have a few general recollections of things like that, even 1 or 2 where a group of kids laughed at someone else, and nearly everyone joined in… but I didn’t, as I knew it wasn’t right and didn’t care about fitting in. I’m not the one who’d stand up and tell everyone else off to get their attention away from the other victim. Maybe a little bit, I might… But I would go talk to that person afterwards so (s)he knew someone around them could be kind.
For any bullies reading this, shame on you. For anyone who lets it happen and does nothing… think about your actions. For anyone who tries to stop it or is never/rarely mean… which if you’re reading something I’m saying is probably 99.99% of you… congratulations for being a decent human being and truly knowing how to be a good person…….. why am I being so Mother Goose today?
It’s one of those things I don’t accept excuses for… no matter what’s happened to you (barring extreme circumstances), it’s important to stop that behavior from passing thru you on to someone else. Phew… a little tension out before I finish writing that book review. Thanks for listening to the rant. But it fit well into the 365 Daily Challenge. It was introspective. It was analytical. And it was an important characteristic to discuss… to ensure it’s one we all stay away from. xoxo (it’s hug time after my little vent!)
About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”
I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.
The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.
Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.