why are some people mean?

“That’s why people are mean. Somebody has done something to them that made them angry or sad. And they want to get rid of that feeling. So they try to make you angry or sad. It’s like using other people as a dustbin for rubbish. They have this rubbish feeling, so they try to dump it in you. For a little bit afterwards, they feel relief. They think, ‘Thank goodness I got rid of that rubbish.’

But it doesn’t really work. After a while the rubbish has a funny way of reappearing, like when you throw something in the sea or a pond and it comes floating back up to the surface. They might feel bad about having been mean. They might have a nasty dream about it or feel sort of snarly and grrrrrr. Or they might feel sad and cry.

Maybe they don’t feel that bad about it. And because they are mean to so many people, no one likes them very much. Which makes them even angrier and sadder. So they dump even more rubbish in the people around them. And it just gets worse. They end up feeling as if they’re in the middle of a rubbish dump.

The next time someone is mean to you, just ask yourself this: ‘I wonder why that mean person is so unhappy? I wonder what is making them so sad or angry that they’re being mean to me?’

The odd thing is, if you do that, you won’t feel nearly so bad.”

– Oliver James in Big Questions from Little People


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