“Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering” – Carl Jung
Have you ever been asked how something was going and you responded with “good”? Have you ever felt that they seemed to magically interpret good as meaning something other than good? Last I checked, good means good. And even if it didn’t, why should someone be seemingly dissatisfied by how you feel things are? What are they, the feelings police?
I think this ties into the robot barbie mentality that seems to resonate in our culture. I think part of this may be because of the excessive amounts of sugar-coating, sweeping problems under the carpet and conflict avoidance that goes on between people. It has come to the point where basically anything that isn’t filled with rainbows and Care Bears is a potential trigger for anxiety. It is like you have to walk on egg shells and dodge around the truth like an obstacle course built for the Avengers simply to avoid offending people by stating facts, observations and opinions based on them. That said, I also have a tendency to come across as a bit blunt, so it is partially a matter of perspective.
I think that the ripple effect of the social pressure to always fake pleasantries and cheerfulness can be destructive. I think it compels people to put a mask on and pretend to be someone they are not. I think it can more greatly alienate people when they aren’t in the best place and can create a stigmatization and sense of shame around that. This is a concern when an estimated 1 in 4 American adults have a diagnosable mental disorder. This doesn’t even include unhealthy mindsets the DSM doesn’t recognize. Maybe if people felt safe being themselves, we wouldn’t have such an alarming rate of mental illness.
I’m not saying we should take being “honest” as an excuse to be a jerk. I’m also not saying we shouldn’t get offended by things we find offensive. I just think a little bit of authenticity and acceptance could go a long way. Don’t tell people their subjective viewpoint is wrong. It doesn’t make sense to objectify and create rules around things that are subjective in nature. The facts are objective, but their personal meaning is not. Maybe we should try to understand rather than judge every once in a while and see what happens. I highly doubt it would create more discord than harmony.