Breeding discontentment

Rory Geraghty

Recent events have caused me to look at my surroundings a bit differently. Not from a completely different point of view but simply from an alternative angle.

Surrounding all of us is a contagious case of discontentment. Some of us are able to rise above it and achieve optimum productivity, while others are not so lucky.

In many ways, I fall somewhere in the middle.

The recent racial controversy on our campus is clearly a thought-provoking issue for Kent State students, regardless of where one may fall in the wide-ranging spectrum of skin tone. Among many other issues, it is dripping in discontentment.

For a wide variety of valid reasons, each and every logical person situated on one of the many sides of the issue employs a multi-faceted point of view, due to the significant complexity of the topic at hand. For many, the root of the problem lies in discontentment.

Different types of discontentment are increasingly evident when one actually listens to everyone else involved in the situation. When the source of the discontentment is heard and reasonably understood, it becomes much easier to sympathize with other points of view, regardless of whether you agree.

For many, this idea is easier to verbalize than to actually implement. For some, the feeling of discontentment is so strong that listening and understanding another person’s experience, whether positive or negative, is nearly impossible.

My best advice is to simply make the effort. Regardless of differences and similarities, it is difficult to truly understand what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes and live their experiences. Also, it is of paramount importance to take a step back and look at ourselves in the mirror. The more we learn about ourselves, the more likely we are to openly learn about others.

Why am I discussing such a large-scale, philosophical topic?

I’ve been thinking about it, and it is very personal.

I have much to share. I also have much to learn.

We all can learn from each other. Do not allow your discontentment to distract you from learning about what makes another person tick. Learn how to read body language. Learn to be compassionate. Learn to listen.

Above all else, do not be afraid to think.

Think for yourself. Think about others. Formulate your opinions and views. Think intelligently and empathetically. For the same reason you would not wear muddy shoes into your grandmother’s house, do not bring muddy shoes into another person’s life without their invitation.

Arguably, the worst part of discontentment is that it can breed contempt and negativity. If you are discontent, do something positive to advance yourself to a level of personal satisfaction. With a positive attitude, many things become possible. With a negative attitude, all can be lost in a flash.

Before adding your opinion to a discussion, please allow yourself the privilege of a bit of thought before diving in. Listen to opposing viewpoints, and do not be afraid to disagree with yourself, challenging your own preconceived thoughts. If everyone agreed to simply care a little bit more about each other, we would be in a much better place.

Stop ignoring what you’re not used to seeing or hearing.

Start caring.

This is our campus and our world. Let’s take it and make it what we want it to be.

Rory Geraghty is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].