Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What I see in the faces of others

I’ve been thinking about kindness and compassion, and how it is possible to see them in the faces of other people. It strikes me when I look at photos or live footage of powerful political figures, celebrities and the like, that there is a hardness in some of the faces that is indicative of their true characters. There is also something about the eyes that gives their true natures away. Who was it said—‘the eyes are the window to the soul’. If they are, then I’ve seen some pretty hard and merciless souls in my life. I’ve also had the misfortune of having crossed paths with a few psychopaths, and their eyes are often black and soulless—empty and actually rather frightening. So their empty eyes are the windows to their lack of souls. Luckily, the bulk of my experience with other people has shown me that kindness and compassion are still in abundance. Why is it such that we often let one bad apple spoil the bunch? We must try to guard against that happening, because if we let that happen, the wrong people win. One bad apple out of ten means that ninety percent are still good. Those are good numbers.

There is likely no hard scientific evidence to back up my observations about what I see in the faces of others. Nonetheless, I cannot help but look at the faces of Trump and Putin and observe hardness there. They look rigid, angry, formidable, and mean. They don’t look happy nor do they look relaxed. They look like plagued souls, and perhaps that is the reason for their bullying natures toward others. The current Pope is a contrast to them both. His face looks relaxed, not rigid, and he has kind eyes. My reaction to a photo of the current pope is visceral; I instinctively know that I could trust him to be kind. I could not say that about Trump or Putin or men like them.

I gravitate toward kind and compassionate people and tend to remove myself from the presence of hard, rigid and mean people if I can, including psychopaths. Not all people are so lucky. I can remove myself by choice, whereas others are perhaps trapped by virtue of the fact that they live in a dictator-led country, or in an abusive relationship, or that they work at a job they need and cannot leave.

I do not like hard, rigid, formidable and mean people, whether they are men or women. I do not like power- and control-hungry people, nor do I like boorish, loud, or narcissistic individuals. I am not interested in getting to know others if their behavior involves humiliating others, making them feel worthless, or actively trying to destroy them. I instinctively shy away from these types of people because I know they are no good for me. That is how my mother would have phrased it. She would not have been overly-judgmental; she would merely have said ‘be careful’ or ‘don’t cast your pearls before swine’. In other words, don’t waste your time on them. It’s a good way to live if one can manage it.

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