Are You Jaded? Why Being Jaded is Harmful

At Prism, we talk a lot about the power of perspective and how the way we look at things greatly impacts the way we actually experience things.

We think of perspective like a lens through which we see the circumstances in front of us— like different pairs of glasses, each with their own unique visual-altering abilities. Perhaps one lens magnifies, while another shrinks. One lens turns things shades of green, another rosy pink. What we see depends on the lens through which we’re looking.

That’s perspective. And while most of us swallow that and move right along, it’s actually quite an incredible thing when you think about it.

Perspective is so powerful that it overrides reality.

We may be seeing things as all green or all magnified, but that’s not the way they actually are. It’s just the way we see them. It’s important we make this distinction between reality and our perception of reality, lest we make decisions based off a perspective that’s liable to shift in the very next moment.

One perspective we see and slip into often is that of being jaded. We start to see our work through a very jaded lens. We start to view relationships from a jaded perspective. We move through the world with a jaded outlook. And it translates to us showing up apathetically, cynically, and exhausted by things that are, in reality, very real and very meaningful circumstances. It’s simply our jaded perspective that alters the way we see them.

Being jaded robs us of the ability to empathize. When we’re overexposed to certain circumstances— be them legal, marital, social or political— we roll our eyes, sigh, and feel as if we can predict what will happen next. We tap out of the present moment, feeling certain this time will be like the last, and we fail to meet people with understanding, curiosity, and genuine interest in their problems or concerns.

A jaded perspective is so easy to adopt, especially when you’ve been at something for decades(work, marriage, raising a family, being a part of a social organization— we get it!) But easy is a cop out. We have the capacity for so much more as humans. We are capable of complex thinking, empathy, love, compassion, critical thinking, and more. And we do ourselves and others around us a disservice when we sink into a jaded, hum-drum perspective, simply because it’s easy.

Where are you living in a jaded perspective in your life right now? Why do you think that is? What are the effects of that? Our challenge to you is to opt for the difficult work of thinking critically and empathizing, when it feels easier to be cynical and apathetic.