Working with human beings and assisting to people in their time of need or at their most vulnerable state has its rewards and challenges. Amongst the many tasks and services as a social worker, there is one absolute upside that I can honestly say I enjoy about my profession; meeting different human characteristics/traits, more often than some. This alone can challenge the solid ground you stand on; beliefs, ideas, opinions or even morality. In addition, the ethical dilemmas are endless and there are countless of shades because nothing is either black or white.
We all meet people on a daily basis, some voluntarily and some not so. But there is no denying that our socialization and interaction with other fellow beings is what makes civilization progress and make us stand out (some of course do question the matter).
Nevertheless, when it comes to us humans, nothing is predictable. I’ve met my share of people and then some, yet the complexity of humans never ceases to amaze me. Now, I’m talking all kinds of people and not only those who seek my help but also those I meet in different settings.
With my encounter and interaction with different people in different social position and stage in life, I’ve learned that at the end of the day we’re all searching for something that we either reach or cannot; at the same time as we strive to reach whatever it may be. We all want and search for meaning and purpose, for without that we’re all just ‘walking dead’ and perhaps not living our potentials.
I know the characteristic/traits of human beings can be long and endless. However, from observing those I’ve encountered with over the years, I’ve learned that there are certain characteristics that makes us human, therefore I’ve chosen a few in the following list that I have been prominent in my experience…
Acceptance, the need of others approval and the need to fit in and be liked in a society or group. We avoid being outcasts as we want to be received/perceived as adequate, also a sense of belonging. We seek validation and we wish to rest with the notion that we matter. No one wants to be or feel left out.
Curiosity opens doors, introducing us to numerous possibilities. It also links us to our ability to learn, change and evolve (important characteristics). From early years to adulthood, curiosity is what drive us to connect with others, it challenges and disrupts our attitude/views connecting us to what lies within us and world around.
Conscious mind, basically our ability to think and making us aware and responsive of our surroundings/emotions. Thus making us who we are – human. René Descartes says it better; “I think, therefor I am” [“Cogito ergo sum”].
Dissatisfaction (complain) cannot be avoided. It doesn’t seem that we lack the ability to show or even express dissatisfaction. Either complaining it’s monday or how there is not enough hours in a day. Humans seem to have the need to express dissatisfaction, for better or worse. I guess, it’s in our nature? Nevertheless, perhaps expressing dissatisfaction is a good thing if it’s met with a solution or even working on finding a solution?
Emotions dictate our actions and being. We go through many emotional state in a life span. I would say that our emotions (and thoughts) is what makes us all very much unpredictable yet so different. Some emotions are more eminent than others and there is no arguing that we deal with emotions in different ways, thus being a trait making us human.
Failure and imperfection are perhaps traits we don’t like to admit about ourselves but obviously a part of the human ‘DNA’. We are born cute and adorable (well, some without getting into it) but born completely flawless or perfect we’re not. Those who vow to raise and protect us have already failed at the task from time to time – perfect they are not. We strive for perfection but in reality we’re far from it. Perfection is an illusion, for at the end of the day we all can do better. Not always aware it’s what makes us human.We fail, we fall but we learn and evolve. Failure has its downsides and upsides but we can’t forget that failing is what makes us also humans.
Judgement to make reasonable decisions or to come to a conclusion. At first sight our brain is in judgement mode. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, yet there is no denying everyone’s got an opinion about someone or something. We all have the habit of judging; self judgement and of course the judgement of others.
Love: Our ability to love and be loved. The source of good. We all seek love and we all need love; apart from the obvious, I would say it’s what keeps us alive.
What characteristics would you say has been prominent in your meeting with others? And in your opinion; what makes us human?