How a Lack of Basic Human Decency Affects My Mental Health

May 9, 2024 Mahevash Shaikh

Basic human decency is the glue that holds society together. It is the golden rule we were taught as children: treat others as you would like to be treated. Unfortunately, basic human decency is lacking in our world, and it affects our mental health in several ways. Let's take a look. 

What Is Basic Human Decency?

I define basic human decency as treating people with kindness, respect, and empathy, irrespective of race, religion, or social class. For example, holding the door open for someone carrying bags exemplifies kindness. Respecting someone's opinion, even if it differs from yours, demonstrates respect. Offering a listening ear to a friend in need showcases empathy. Simple acts like these cultivate positive relationships and a more compassionate society. 

How Does a Lack of Basic Human Decency Affect Mental Health? 

Speaking from personal experience, the absence of basic human decency has impacted my mental health in the following ways:

  1. Decreased self-worth
  2. Increased stress and anxiety
  3. Loneliness
  4. Negative self-talk

I recently completed two rounds of interviews at a company. Only one more round was pending, after which I would get either a job offer or a rejection email. But what did the human resources person do instead? They ghosted me, leaving me with no explanation for what went wrong. Even when I sent polite and specific follow-up emails, they simply left me on Read. (I use mail-tracking software that notifies me each time someone opens my email.) I even reached out to the other point of contact, hoping for some answers, but they meted out the same silent treatment. If this doesn't exemplify a lack of basic human decency, what does?

The Importance of Practicing Basic Human Decency

Their mistreatment affected my self-worth and gave me unnecessary stress and anxiety. What's worse is that my interactions with both interviewees were pleasant, and my interviews went well, so I did not see this coming. Their incivility triggered my trust issues and made me feel incredibly lonely. And finally, since this rejection was out of the blue, I blamed myself: maybe I had done something to warrant their disrespect. My negative self-talk went through the roof, and it took me introspection and therapy to resolve all these issues. Because you guessed right: this wasn't the first employer who had pulled this stunt, and a string of similar bad experiences can affect anyone's mental health. 

As you can see, a lack of basic human decency has far-reaching consequences. They say hurt people hurt people, but honestly, it doesn't take much effort to be kind. Let's do our bit to make the world a less hostile place by being decent to each other. 

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2024, May 9). How a Lack of Basic Human Decency Affects My Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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