A sense of humour is essential for anyone who wishes to maintain their balance in an environment where there’s dysfunction. Dysfunction is to be found wherever there are people because we aren’t centred or balanced all of the time. I think anyone reading this would agree that we encounter situations in our day to day lives that challenge our faith that the good in mankind is greater than the bad. Any social gathering, be it among family, friends, colleagues or others in the community can turn very dark and the mood can shift drastically when any one person’s opinion deviates from that of the majority.

Recently, I had the good fortune of expressing an unpopular opinion among a group of writers. I don’t hate Trump. I think he’s an accurate reflection of the collective idiocy, apathy and narcissism. In fact, I have absolute faith that whatever manifests in the outside world is a fair reflection of our collective consciousness.

Let’s take Trump.

He’s as much a part of you as he’s a part of me, even though you may tell yourself that never in a million years would you vote for such a man. How did he come to be in power in the first place? Where were all the qualified candidates? The system, which is what we all support, no matter where we may be in the world (as we’re all part of the whole and as such interconnected) placed him in a position of power. This is to remind us that the qualities we associate with Trump, idiocy, apathy and narcissism, reside in all of us. If you’re overcome by hate for Trump and cannot appreciate that he’s been the choice of the people who did not feel seen or heard for a very long time, you’re unable to see the shadow side of human nature. We’re not all light, rainbows and everything nice.

Idiocy

I most recently experienced my own idiocy when among a group of media industry people I expressed a naive view that mass media should no longer exist. Yeah, real dumb. They didn’t take kindly to that, surprise, surprise.

What revealed my idiocy was their idiocy. We all reflect each other after all, don’t we? They feigned complete ignorance of the fact that people nowadays get their news from social media and blogs.

To overcome it, listen twice before you speak.

Apathy

My apathy became apparent to me when I chose to criticise someone on social media for trying to mitigate the problem of educating girls in the Middle East. It wasn’t enough that I wasn’t doing anything to make things better but I was also calling those who wanted to take action “egotistical”. Maybe this was a case of apathy combined with idiocy and narcissism.

To overcome, volunteer for something in your community that’s going to make life a little better for someone.

Narcissism

I think there’s no greater show of vanity than checking my smartphone to see if anyone’s called me, written to me or responded to anything I shared. The smartphone has become a mirror for me.

Narcissism is a word that comes from the story of a beautiful boy Narcissus who was loved by a mountain spirit named Echo. Echo followed him and when he asked “who’s there?” she repeated “who’s there?” but had to eventually reveal herself. Narcissus was cruel to her and told her he didn’t love her and she wasted away to nothing, only for her voice to remain and repeat anything said.

Seeing Narcissus’s cruelty, the Gods took revenge by making him fall in love with his own image in a pond and soon he withered away to become a flower, the daffodil.

To overcome my smartphone gazing, I can choose to spend more time writing my book. Social media gazing is a fast way for one’s creative talent to wither away to nothing. It is also beneficial to step outside of the echo chamber, the group of people who have the same view of the world and see things from a different perspective.

Over to you…

What are some strategies you will use to overcome apathy, idiocy and narcissism?

Will you reduce the use of your smartphone and instead tune into nature and those people around you who may be too young or old to be on their smartphones?

Will you volunteer for a community cause?

Will you consciously try to make conversation with people whose lives appear very different to yours?