Many things contribute to the growth of the individual. Experiences and travel. The highs and lows of relationships. The perspectives of others. This last bit, the perspectives of others is where we as a society are starting to lose it.
Some people label it “the pussification of America.” That’s a rather off-putting manner of stating a very real problem. So what is it really? What is stunting our growth as individuals when it comes to the perspective of others?
We’ve become so fearful to offend people that we no longer share our honest perspective. Even if it’s not true, the personal attacks that result in speaking honestly regarding the arguments, is simply not worth the effort to offer another perspective.
Growing up I was taught that not telling the truth, simply omitting something, was just as bad as a lie. If you feel the same way, then we’ve created a society of lies . . . because people are rarely honest if what they have to say is critical in nature.
If you have a close friend, someone who appreciates honesty, you will straight up tell them when they are wrong . . . and you expect them to do the same for you. Often, this new perspective helps you grow and learn. Even if you make no changes, at least you know how you are perceived.
No where does troubling dishonesty occur more than on social media. People who are critical of you, or who offer you feedback, are simply unfriended . . . and ignored. People surround themselves with “yes” men and the ego grows.
If we block all critical feedback, how are we to learn and grow? If we reward dishonesty and avoid any criticism, who are we becoming?
People love to claim how Political Correctness is ruining our society . . . but I often see those same people become extremely hostile to any dissenting point of view. It’s not just hypocrisy, it’s dishonesty.
A great author once said he preferred to take “the road less traveled by.” If you stay within your isolated point of view, and do not tolerate criticism or hard feedback, you’re stunting your growth as an individual.
I’m not advocating participation in arguments online. Those help no one. Learn to let it go. I’m advocating you to appreciate criticism and feedback, to not get flustered and to take it as an insult, but to use it as a tool to grow.
Perception is reality. You should be open to how others perceive you and your words so that you can better state your own perception.
This article originally appeared in The Havok Journal on 2 July 2016.