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“Hell is other people”

In Jean Paul Sartre’s play, “No Exit,” three characters are locked together in a room in hell after their deaths, condemned to live together in confinement. Through intense discussions and conflicts, they are forced to see themselves through each other’s eyes and are exposed to their own flaws, which makes them conclude that “hell is other people.”

Among the many skills that human beings may or may not have, one of the most difficult to acquire, maintain and develop is relational competence, which is the capacity to get along with your fellowmen. The problem is that all of our fellowmen are different from us. We are all unique people on this planet of 7 billion, and there are not two people that are alike.

Despite knowing this, we want others to be like us, think like us and to act and react like we do. We are intolerant of what is different. We do not tolerate those who diverge from our opinion, nor those who have different beliefs than we do, or, like a mirror, show us characteristics or qualities that we don’t see or don’t want to see.

Aware that ways of behaving are unique, the complexity of the process of interaction that constantly occurs between people and the problems people face when interacting or living together are fairly natural. Does this mean that we are destined to have bad relationships or is there another way?

Everything begins with self-knowledge.

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