“The Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all — the trouble is, humans do have a knack for choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
According to the humanistic perspective of psychology, we are all leaning toward self-growth. As we form relationships and undergo new experiences, we gain knowledge and wisdom about the world around us, and we naturally change for the better. Nevertheless, we still manage to find ourselves making poor decisions — decisions we know are bad for us — as if we haven’t learned from the past.
I’d like to throw this question out to my readers: why do we tend to choose this self-destructive path?
You guys know what I’m talking about. Different people personify it in different ways, but we see it everywhere: in the college student who overeats; in the boy who likes to try various drugs; in the girl who keeps going back to the same guy who ripped her heart out (and then stomped on it a few times for good measure). The actions themselves may differ, but I feel like the sentiments behind them often remain the same.
Point is, people aren’t stupid. Much of the time, they know the exact ramifications of what they are getting themselves into, and yet they still make those harmful choices.
I often wonder why we make those bad decisions on purpose. Do we use them as an escape from other, more underlying problems? Do we use them more abstractly to figure out what we can survive? Are we in total denial about them? Or do we use them to see who will reach out to us in the long run?
Honestly, I don’t know what the answer is, but I do think that when you see a friend who seems to be struggling, it is important to try and help in the best way you can. Just as Audrey Hepburn once said, “As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself and one for helping others.” Of course we aim to learn and grow from our mistakes (and so maybe this does fit in with humanism in the sense that those self-destructive mistakes lead us toward positive change), but having that extra shoulder to lean on certainly doesn’t hurt.
What are your views on this?