“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” – Max Erhmann, from The Desiderata
Here at Team GHU, we try to look at the sunny side of things. We’re fortunate enough to work in an industry that, for the most part, aims to lift people up and inspire them to be their happiest, healthiest selves. But unfortunately, the world can be a harsh place, and it’s not always easy to keep calm and carry on. Sometimes, getting fed up is the first step to setting yourself free, so we compiled a list of a few things we wish would cease to exist. Things the world truly would be better off without. So if you’re into self-improvement, take a look at this list and see what you can do to help improve our collective consciousness. Because quite frankly, it’s time for a change, and these things have no place in our beautiful world.
1. Body Shaming
Inspiring people to be healthy is one thing; shaming them for being a different size than you is another. The recent snapchat scandal involving former Playmate Dani Mathers is the perfect example of how horrible body shaming can be. Mathers snap-chatted a woman in her gym locker room, insinuating that the woman’s body type was disgusting to look at because she wasn’t a size 0. There is absolutely no reason to publicly harass or humiliate people, ESPECIALLY based on what they look like. It’s cruel, degrading, and speaks more to the culprit’s low self-esteem than anything else. After all—if you’re okay body shaming others, you’re probably okay body shaming yourself—and what we need now more than ever is acceptance and compassion.
2. Unwarranted Advice
Remember that saying: “you shouldn’t judge people unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes?” It doesn’t even feel like we’re trying on other people’s shoes for a size, we jump straight into flat out judgment and giving unwarranted advice. There seems to be a chorus of people today eager to comment on how others live their lives, saying “I would NEVER do x, y, or z that way,” whether referring to someone else’s parenting skills, career choices, or relationships. Here’s an idea: if you would never do it that way, then don’t.
3. Disagreements That Turn Degrading
What happened to the days when people could politely disagree with one another without making threats or vile remarks? We wish the world would remember what polite disagreement looked like, before the internet became a battleground of nasty comments and disparaging remarks. We all have different experiences, biases, and backgrounds, and that will inherently lead to differences of opinion. But you can have a different opinion from someone else without calling them names or turning the discussion into an attack. In fact, if we could learn to politely disagree more, it might lead to actual discussions that would lead us forward, instead of escalating arguments that end in insults and name-calling.
4. Hate Speech and Intolerance
Speaking of opinions, since when did freedom of speech become confused with hate speech? While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, there’s NO reason to be bigoted, hateful, or intolerant. It is not “just your opinion” if you think certain groups of people don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else—it’s bigotry.
Just because we now carry cell phones 24/7 that give us the ability to back out of plans at a moment’s notice doesn’t mean we should. Sure, we’re all only human and doing the best we can; sometimes we need to cancel and sometimes we need to cancel last-minute. But doing so all the time is no way to lead your life—it gives other people the message that you’re unreliable and care more about your own interests than other people.
6. Cyber Bullying
Nasty internet comments have reached an all-time high as of late. We can’t help but wonder: would people really say such mean and nasty things to someone’s face? Probably not. Hiding anonymously behind a computer screen, people can be a lot more horrid than if they had to face the recipient of their vile comments in person. Think before you become embroiled in a personal attack in the comments section: what am I actually doing?
7. Default Cynicism
You know those people who you share good news with and they immediately start thinking of a list of things that could go wrong? Don’t be that person. Life is short and we need to celebrate every good thing that happens to those we love. A new job, a cross-country move, taking a big opportunity—be excited for people, including yourself!—and don’t automatically jump to all the things that could go wrong. Focus on what could go right and notice an immediate paradigm shift in how you view life.
8. Letting Competition Get The Best Of You
We live in a competitive world; now so more than ever with social media showing us who’s living better, bigger, or more fabulously than we are. But don’t let envy become your go-to emotion. Don’t compare yourself to other people without acknowledging that there’s room for ALL of us to be happy and successful.
9. People Who Don’t Pick Up After Themselves
Aren’t we past the phase of littering already? Pick up your trash, dispose of your cigarette butts (NOT biodegradable, thanks) and pick up after your dog! And don’t forget to recycle! We are all called upon to be stewards of this earth, and every time we trash it mindlessly we’re showing disrespect for Mother Nature and our fellow inhabitants.
10. Taking Your Frustrations Out On The Wrong Person
Ok, so the barista didn’t make your drink correctly, or the airline lost your luggage. When dealing with a minor annoyance in life, try to remember that the person you’re venting your frustrations to is usually doing the best they can. We’re all just doing the best we can, so keep that in mind before you take out your anger on a customer service representative or even the car ahead of you going a little too slowly. Everyone has their own problems to deal with and a little extra kindness goes a long way.
11. Complaining About Not Having Enough Time
We live in a culture of busyness—where being in over our heads is somehow celebrated and equated with being successful. But the truth is, the most successful people practice good time management skills; they do not constantly whine about not having enough time to exercise, finish a project, etc. They just do it, and they know that we all make time for the things we want to make time for.
12. Endless Gossip
Yes, gossip is as old as civilization itself as a form of bonding and communication, but there’s a difference between light celebrity gossip and endlessly talking about people you know behind their backs. Next time you think about commenting on someone’s new haircut horror or pending divorce, consider the golden rule: if you wouldn’t want the topic to be spoken about in a certain manner when you’re not around, don’t do it to other people.
13. Holding Grudges
They say resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die; it only does damage to you. If the relationship is worth salvaging, consider this your sign from the universe to release the grip around your own resentment today. Is there someone who could benefit from a small dose of your forgiveness? A little more compassion or mercy? Then let that forgiveness reverberate out into society as a whole and make it a game: how quickly can you let things go that annoy you? How soon afterwards can you forget a petty grievance because holding onto it does not serve you. We’re not saying you should become a doormat: you can forgive without forgetting.
14. Not Seeing The World
Technology has done wonderful things for our society, but we’ve become glued to our devices. Next time you’re out and about, observe how many people are looking down at their screens instead of up and at the world. People are on dates checking their Twitter notifications and walking down the street without noticing the person next to them. As Max Erhmann said, “with all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams—it is still a beautiful world.” Put down your phone and look up every once in a while, and you just might notice it.