There are Too Many “Not My Problem” People

And not enough people holding others accountable for their actions.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

I’m guilty of being a “not my problem” person on occasion. Not because I don’t care, but because I’m prone to getting wrapped up in and weighed down by situations beyond my control. I’ve had many sleepless nights agonizing over why a friend won’t leave a painful relationship or worrying about the parenting of my nieces and nephews. I’ve felt indifferent to being in this world because of how awful people can treat one another.

I never adhered to the “mind your own business” directive until minding others’ business started to erode my mental and emotional health. I cared too much. I learned that I needed to be selective about how much negative stimuli I allow, with the understanding that it can be difficult for my spirit to carry.

I’m an empath by nature — a logical, integrous one at that.

I don’t understand deciding against your best interest, doing things that don’t make sense, or deceiving and treating people that you claim to love poorly.

I don’t understand hatred, cruelty, or the inherent concepts of racism and oppression. I comprehend the motive behind oppressive systems and that many of those who engage do so for their gain. They keep others down to protect the privilege of a superior position.

What I can’t fathom is why or how people can so easily justify unwarranted suffering. Is it cognitive dissonance? Is it seeing the afflicted as subhuman? And if so, why? We all bleed red, walk on two legs, and look internally identical. What makes anyone believe that they’re better than the next person and innately entitled to anything?

I’m unable to grasp where one must go within themselves to trigger unprovoked responses and irrational outlooks. It doesn’t make sense, and I need it to. So, I often find myself pondering questions that don’t have answers.

I also don’t understand why we watch or aid others in doing things with which we fundamentally disagree.

Even on a smaller scale — helping friends cheat on their spouses, aiding loved ones in deceiving other people, standing by as a buddy harasses or abuses someone. We don’t want to get involved, nor believe connection makes us culpable.

Then, on an infinitely larger scale, we stand by as a colleague puts a knee to the neck of defenseless George Floyd until he perishes. Three other officers just stood there! Maybe they underestimated the situation or feared backlash from their brothers in blue. (Generously presuming that they don’t condone the behavior.) In the end, it doesn’t matter. A man is needlessly dead when more than one human being was in a position to prevent it from happening.

WHY?

I see fallacy in the notion that those unaffected by similar incidents need to be outraged — because even if it’s not your experience, it does affect you.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ~MLK

There is no valid reason that anyone should feel detached from the inhumane treatment of another person. You should be personally offended and incensed. If it affects me, it affects you, and vice versa. Not adopting this perspective is part of the problem.

America is exhausting.

Not only because of existing racial bias and subsequent unjust treatment, but all of the “isms” and human phobias with which we struggle. America is exhausting for anyone socially aware who isn’t out of touch with the common person, because of its egregious disparity of wealth, education, and opportunity. What’s also draining is our divisive embarrassment of a political system, rampant corruption, inadequate response to crises (i.e., COVID-19), and our propensity for comparing tragedies and victim-blaming.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I don’t promote or support anyone believing that they’re “less-than.” However, the way that one views themselves and the effects of how they’re viewed in the eyes of others are two different things.

Before someone tells me I should leave the country if I don’t like it — trust that’s become a distinct possibility. But I shouldn’t have to leave. When there are issues in your household, you don’t just go to someone else’s. You try to fix the problems. You voice your concerns and offer the chance for improvement.

My optimism dwindles every day. I don’t know if or when we’ll see a significant change in our nation or the mentality of its citizens. There will always be unfair treatment, wrongdoing, and wrongdoers — but you and me consistently meeting the challenge of intervening and holding them accountable is a viable catalyst.

Author of a critically-acclaimed book on women and dating. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1687069786

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