Too many people are taking this “love yourself” thing way too far these days. I’m aware that’s not going to be a popular sentence to some- especially if they take it out of context- but it’s really becoming something I see more and more often. Read on to understand why only focusing on “loving yourself” can be a problem.
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Let me clarify here: All the positive self-image and empowerment talk is great for building up people who have confidence issues, or maybe a skewed perspective of their abilities. It can be life-changing for people who have been abused, or suppressed in some way. Those things are all very needed in this world- just take a look around my site to see that I am all about the poitive aspects of loving yourself. The problem is that many people can get misguided, and take these statements to extremes. In fact, it’s almost becoming the norm to be “all about yourself.”
I understand that most people probably aren’t actively telling their children to only love themselves, but I feel like they are maybe seeing and hearing so much of just the self-positivity aspect, without really seeing the other side, that it has created this problem of people only looking at situations for how it affects them. It’s also partially caused by the naturally trending tendencies of generations to go through the stages of being wildly different from their parents’ generation. I say stages because they’ll kind of go back and forth between what the ‘in’ thing is, so sometimes things will overlap. There will be certain things that are considered ‘in’ because they’re ‘vintage,’ but the newest and trendiest things they are into, will basically be the opposite of their parents.
Take Gen X, for example. We were all about some wide-leg pants, grunge rock, or gangster rap, etc. Our children are into skinny jeans, looking professional, and happy music. At least, in general. It’s just how things go. Our parents were into the clean-cut, professional look, or sometimes hippies, so they created a generation that no one could really define. We’ve kinda become the forgotten ones, but it’s cool- we’re good and that’s a different piece.
The trends seem to go the same for the “types” of people that are considered popular, and the overall ‘tone’ and attitudes of society. Back in the 90’s when alt rock and Nirvana were popular, the moody, loner types were appealing to the general youth. They either wanted to be like them, or be with them. Each little ‘clique’ had their own coveted type, of course. Back in those days, if one were considered a “prep,” they were probably into the boy bands and girl pop groups.
The trend in the general attitude of people was different, too. People wanted to be different and stand out. Speaking their mind in a blunt manner was seen as trouble-making. Being extreme in words or actions was generally frowned upon by upper-class society, so of course it seemed very ‘cool’ to the teens of the time, and they were all about people who spoke their mind and stood out.
Now, a couple of decades later, being extreme is almost normal. It seems like it’s no longer odd to be so narrow-minded on subjects that people stop speaking to family and lifelong friends because they don’t agree with their presidential choice, or don’t have the same beliefs. Somehow, people have decided it’s perfectly fine to call each other names, and even physically fight with each other, just because they don’t like what the other person believes. That’s nonsense. Yes, it’s nonsense, and childish. We HAVE to be able to agree to disagree. It takes ALL types to make this world work.
What it all comes down to, is people being so all about themselves that they no longer give a thought to how they are affecting others. They’re under the impression that it’s really perfectly fine for them to be that way. Maybe it is, to some people, but to me, it’s getting out of control. I see it everywhere- in meaningless things and fairly serious situations.
In general society, it’s coming through as an “every man for themselves” type of thing. Rather than having a community spirit, people are becoming more isolated from their neighbors, keeping to themselves. In my area, old school block parties rarely happen anymore. Whether this is happening because of insurance creating liability for the people involved, or just neighbors not knowing each other well enough to take part- it’s making neighborhoods lose the community feeling they used to have.
It’s showing up in the children, too. There is truth to the old saying “It takes a village, ” but it seems the tendency now is “to each their own.” Which I’m fine with when we’re talking about respecting someone’s lifestyle, but it can be problematic when it’s taken too far and no one wants to help anyone. Being with our children 24/7 isn’t usually possible. Parents need to make an income, and need to keep their sanity. Back in the day, kids and teenagers knew better than to act out anywhere because they knew other parents would get onto them. It naturally created a kind of network where parents kept in touch with each other, and everyone’s kids were better for it.
Now, we have to be worried that someone is going to get offended by us trying to reach out to them about their kid. It can be even worse to say something directly to the child. Parents nowadays can get very upset about that. I 100% understand protecting your children. Everyone absolutely should be doing that because they aren’t yet equipped to do it themselves. It can be taken too far, though, when parents aren’t recognizing their children’s faults, or if they don’t allow their child to be appropriately disciplined when they aren’t present (in the absence of special circumstances.)
Many parents don’t want anyone else, at all, disciplining their child in any way, causing the scenario where the kids act one way around the parent, and completely differently elsewhere. It’s not a good thing, but parents aren’t recognizing that. Instead, they’re getting offended because somehow, in their heads, someone having to say something to their child, or about their child, is challenging their parenting. It’s really not. I understand being worried that someone will mistreat their kid, but that goes back to making sure they’re exposing them to the right kind of people. If they’re truly worried about a certain person being unfair to their child, they probably shouldn’t be around them unsupervised.
This may seem extreme to some, but until kids are old enough to understand the consequences of actions, and recognize inappropriate behavior, they shouldn’t have the opportunity to be around someone they’d need to worry about. I realize there are circumstances where this isn’t always possible, but that should always be the goal.
I know better than to believe I know all about my children and their activities. They are old enough now to where they don’t have to have 24/7 supervision. They are teenagers. Teenagers naturally get into stuff they shouldn’t. My philosophy: the more eyes out there watching out for my children- the better.
Our goal should be to have our communities so tight-knit that would-be child kidnappers see the area as a nightmare scenario for them. Our children should have strong morals because they had a close community of people guiding them- showing them right from wrong in different scenarios, and from different perspectives. Instead, it really seems like it’s just getting easier for them because no one looks out for anyone else. That lack of community and “every man for themselves” attitude is, in part, a result of people taking loving themselves too far, and it’s showing through all over- not just in how people are raising their kids.
I see the problem in managers not teaching their employees how to act right, and not leading by example. In just one store, the delivery guy and manager were on their phones, and a third employee was nowhere to be found. It’s not an isolated incident. It happens regularly when that manager is working. Employees will walk right into the path of a customer without an “excuse me” or even any acknowledgement that they cut someone off. The behavior has gotten even worse in parking lots, from both employees and customers. People look out for themselves and no one else matters.
If an attempt is made to bring it to their attention, the person seems almost baffled by the concept that what they are doing has affected someone else. Like they live in a blacked-out bubble and don’t notice anything about the world around them. The same theme shows itself in traffic, public places like malls and restaurants, all over the internet and other media, and just about every other industry and social setting there is. It’s seeping into everything, and if we don’t teach a different way-it’s going to completely take over. Some may argue that it already has.
Many may have been used to seeing this trend for several years now, but where I live is generally behind the times. The fact that I am clearly seeing this behavior with the same basic principle driving it, even in this place that is usually at least 5 years behind the times, tells me how far-reaching it is. I urge you to teach balance instead of just all about self- a balance between self-care, and being thoughtful and compassionate.
Believing in having a positive self-image and empowering yourself does not require blinders that don’t allow you to see how your actions affect others. Don’t build yourself up by taking from, stepping on, or putting someone else down. Balance is everything. It is possible to make progress and bring others with you instead of leaving them behind, whether you’re in the workplace and have been working on a project with others, or in traffic and being courteous enough to let others into a lane they need. Be conscious of how your decisions, words, and movements affect others, and teach children to do the same.