During the past week I’ve been in many discussions on the topic of prejudice. Prejudice is shit. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees – fuck them. If you find yourself trapped in thoughts of prejudice, please do the world (and yourself) a favour and get rid of them as soon as possible. To boost your process, here’s a story for you.
Today I invited Rikard for a [traditional, Swedish] fika for two hours between meetings. He’s 56 years old, born and raised on Södermalm, Stockholm and worked at various law firms in Stockholm for 32 years. He was married to a beautiful woman, had a son, a nice flat in the city and a car. He lived the life of most Swedish people.
Then he got fired. As of this, he [naturally] felt like shit and [unfortunately] evolved the behaviour to have quite too many drinks quite too often. His wife left him. His son left him. Ultimately, he went bankrupt and lost his apartment.
Tumbling down the rabbit hole of hopelessness, and without either a wall to lean on or a roof over his head, he got himself into a drug addiction, and later on engaged in criminal activities to finance his constant need and urge.
After losing his job, he slowly lost all of his material belongings. He lost his mind to drugs. He lost his health to alcohol. He partially lost his sight.
Today, 7 years later, he’s still homeless, and constantly striving to work things out. He tries to get as many jobs as possible, he saves his money, and tries to stay positive. But most importantly – he’s been sober for three years.
During our conversations I gently asked him who he thinks is most prone to end up in the same situation as he did. His answer? Achievers. People who put to much pressure on themselves, and constantly strives to achieve more and more. Those who never settle. Those who end up beating themselves up to the extent that they abuse drugs to endure the suffering, or mentally surrender.
You don’t need to lose your job to become homeless. You don’t have to become addicted to drugs or alcohol to become homeless. All it takes is one twisted though dominating your mind, putting you in a state where you don’t care about nothing any longer. Where you lose grip of yourself, and the world slowly falls apart around you.
But you and I – we would never end up in this situation, right? Right.
During our two hours of discussion, I learnt more than I have in a long time. We both shared some common anchors in life, and found ourselves in vivid discussions about things I would not have expected [Computer Science]. Listening to his stories was both terrifying and mesmerising.
Who am you and I to judge a person based on their previous acts? Who are we to judge a group of people? Everyone have done deeds in their past that they are not proud about, but everyone changes – and most people would definitely find it illegitimate to be judged upon their past acts today. So who are you and I to judge others upon theirs? By judging people or groups of people, you indirectly encourage others to judge you, or the group others perceive you to be a member of.
Take care of yourself. Care about yourself. Care about others. Sometimes, your sole attention can be the light of a person’s day.
FYI. It’s getting really cold outside.