We understand cruelty as behaviour or attitudes which cause harm to something else, whether humans or other sentient beings, like animals. Cruelty is not always intentional, but it can be. However, there is a culture of enjoyment within the understanding of cruelty – people often enjoy the opportunity to inflict pain upon other beings as a remedy for their problems or a feeling of craving such.

How is Cruelty Inflicted?

Cruelty can be inflicted in a variety of manners. Violence is common, but an act doesn’t need to be determined as ‘cruel’. Sometimes something violent happens because a person acts cruelly in refusing to help them. Other times, cruelty can be exhibited verbally or through non-violent action.

‘Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside itself; it only requires opportunity,’ – George Eliot

Sometimes, cruelty may even be exhibited with good intentions. While this can be hard to understand, occasionally somebody can inflict or cause cruelty due to good action or by trying to perform a good move. This can make our understanding of cruelty far more complex, meaning we must consider the variety and nuance within the idea of cruelty and why people choose to be cruel. We need to look beyond the specifics and question what goes on within ourselves if we seek to end cruelty as a society. As with many ways of developing positivity, it begins with what we are willing to do as individuals.

How do We Prevent Cruelty?

As stated, the journey of avoiding creating cruelty begins with ourselves. We must consider, within ourselves, the potential outcomes of our words and actions. This kind of self-analysis can be difficult to grasp; the mind often naturally avoids looking inwards because it can reveal the inner psyche. But this type of self-analysis is essential to our understanding of what causes cruelty and how it can harm us.

You may be wondering, how is my endeavour into understanding cruelty going to solve the huge issue surrounding brutality worldwide? The truth is, everybody should be seeking out their answers to inform and protect the collective – but it starts with as little as one person.

Why are we cruel to others? Why might we exhibit cruelty to animals? We know that nothing good can come of that for the victim of our behaviours. Cruelty is pure negativity, often done for fun. The sooner we can wake up to the senseless depravity of silly games like cruelty, the sooner we can work out how to be positive and express only that to others.

Guided meditation may be of use, for it allows the deep penetrating questioning of the inner self needed to begin a journey away from cruelty and positivity. Our ability to move past negativity requires a potentially painful journey of accountability and self-understanding, but we know that it is for the best.

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