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Have people changed?

I would say that I had a solid up-bringing, some may call it old-fashioned. I was taught to say please and thank you, to ask permission to leave the dinner table, to respect my elders. I am not sure if I was taught it, but one of my values in life has always been to care for others, especially when they are in need. Several years ago I did find out that you can do this too much and need to find time to put yourself first. I now feel that I am working well towards achieving this balance, which has meant that sometimes I have said no to people needing help and learnt not to feel bad about it.

What has shocked me recently is that there seem to be so many people with this out of balance and it does not shift in the direction I would have expected it to.

I would like to think that if someone really needed my support I would be there. Over the past year there have been a couple of occasions when I have experienced deep sadness and tragedy. I am not a person to wallow in self-pity, I am normally quite happy –go-lucky, but on these occasions the wind has really been knocked from my sails. I am incredibly blessed to have an immensely supportive husband, but at these hard times it would be nice to know that there are others out there to pick me up when I fall.

Looking back after the events it was quite shocking to consider how many close friends and even close family members hadn’t been available emotionally for me.

When I know one of my family or friends is going through a tough time I will get in touch to let them know that I am thinking of them and let them know if there is anything I can do to help, to let me know. If I don’t hear anything back from the person within a couple of days, I will contact them again to re-emphasize the point. Sometimes I think people don’t realise that you truly mean what you say. I do.

Has it always been like this? Has something changed? I made a comment about this the other day to an acquaintance, a lady senior to my years. She felt that something had changed, people appear more self-absorbed. Interestingly she pointed to social networking as the possible cause. I found this interesting as for me the point of social networking is to keep in touch easily with people I know in one place. It was pointed out to me that on a social networking site you are posting information about yourself. A ‘Me’ culture.

I always make a point of reading my friends posts and enjoying doing so. I will comment on good, sad and strange posts. Is everyone the same though? Very recently one of my friends posted about the death of one of his friends. I commented and made direct contact with him. I saw the post 24 hours after it was originally made and believe, from what he told me, that I was one of the first to make direct contact.

I also wonder whether the current economic climate has had an effect. Financial difficulties, loss of jobs or reduced incomes seem to be making people draw more into themselves. It seems to be survival of the fittest. A culture of not wanting to give support to someone else because you may lose out financially. Was it like this in tough economic times of the past? Did people pull together to help each other out more?

Is it that we are all so busy with so many pressures on our time that we don’t have the time to stop and take stock of what is happening to us, never mind those around us?

Whatever the reason, we all have feelings that we need to consider but we also need to lookout for those around us too. It doesn’t matter whether it is a family member, friend, or someone we pass on the street. Life is tough, so let’s try and look out for each other more.  Sometimes a smile is all that is needed, other times a shoulder to cry on; maybe some form of practical help. You would want it for yourself, so why not show it to someone else?

Rebecca Webb
Follow me on Twitter @WriterBecWebb



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