But here’s what Older Self will not have the heart to say: some of the music you are now listening to—the CDs you play while you stare out the window and think about the five million ways your life might go—will be unbearable to listen to in twenty years. They will be unbearable not because they will sound dated and trite but because they will sound like the lining of your soul. They will take you straight back to the place you were in when you felt that anything could happen at any time, that your life was a huge room with a thousand doors, that your future was not only infinite but also elastic. They will be unbearable because they will remind you that at least half of the things you once planned for your future are now in the past and others got reabsorbed into your imagination before you could even think about acting on them. it will be as though you never thought of them in the first place, as if they were never meant to be anything more than passing thoughts you had while playing your stereo at night.
| Meghan Daum
We all have the capacity to dehumanize and even hate people we don't know personally - especially on social media. But this is a delusional impulse. Four little exercises I use to crank up the compassion in my mind.
Imagine the little details of a person's life you're hating: the calls they get from their mother, the presents they buy for their son, the list they have on their desk with plans for the future. Like you, everyone else is ultimately just trying to be happy.
Read about the universe. Nothing makes hatred seem more ridiculous than internalizing how vast time and space are. Doing so makes me want to turn to anyone who will listen and hug them and say, "We both exist! On the same tiny planet at the same exact time! Hi!"
THINK OUTSIDE YOURSELF
Every person has a unique childhood, a unique set of traumas, unique mental health issues. There are many people not lucky enough to be born as intellectually or emotionally intelligent as you were, not lucky enough to have an upbringing like yours. You have no idea what kind of grief, heartbreak, or other misfortune another person may be suffering through. However awful someone is acting, it would probably make a lot more sense if you could spend a few minutes inside their brain.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR
What are you like on a really bad day? What are you like when you're in an awful mood? We all have our bad sides. We all have topics that bring out our most biased, irrational selves. We all have areas of embarrassing ignorance. We all look back on our previous selves and cringe about the way we used to be in one area or another. Others may be flawed in ways you're not, but you're probably flawed in some ways they're not.
You certainly don't have to like everybody. But when you HATE a person or a group of people, you've gotten swallowed up by human craziness. A quick pause and reflection can snap you back into reality.