To scorn someone or something is not only to deny a hearing or validity to another person, idea, or thing, but also marks you with a negativity that you may find hampers you in your further endeavors through life. By pouring scorn on others you set yourself aside from the rest of humanity; you set yourself up as having the only right opinions, feelings, or thoughts. With kind of thinking one tends to come to believe that they are better than anyone else and have more rights to the best things in life than anyone else. Once this deriding habit becomes entrenched in your personality, you will find that you have no friends to support you in times of need, and those times will come; you will nary a person to love you and abate the loneliness you’ll be bound to feel; and you’ll have no one to share triumphs or joys with. It is much harder to connect with people whom you’ve alienated than it is to alienate them in the first place; but one doesn’t ordinarily think about such things when one is in the first flush of excitement and pleasure at being right, or ‘winning’ in a perceived competition, it’s easier to flaunt your success and denigrate the ‘losers,’ and it feels better, too. So mustn’t one be wary of scornful behavior in the first place?
There are times when we feel that the only thing sharp about us is our shadow. Clear thinking, incisive judgments, emotional clarity, and even sharp dressing, have all been swept away by fatigue, ceaseless monotony, dull repetitiveness, lack of initiative, or pain. Perhaps, though, we can use our shadows to alleviate some of these symptoms and the resultant enervation. Just a glance at your shadow shows you that there is something incisive about you – your solid, sharply defined contours. Your shadow is just as unique as yourself and can serve as a reminder of that uniqueness; that you may be observing and remarking on it in your head, or maybe even aloud, can easily serve to remove your mind from your mundane or troubled existence. Looking at yourself without actually looking at your physical body can also allow for observation without the sense of vanity, the sense of self-absorption, or the sense of self-denigration some may feel when looking in a mirror or at a picture of themselves. A sharp silhouette can sharpen us up simply by being a reminder that we are real and substantial, or we couldn’t be interrupting the light. And shadows are fun to play with too, don’t you think?
When little things get us down, or when big things get us way down, we all can do with a little support. Or a lot. Asking for support doesn’t mean we are incapable or incompetent; asking for support can mean that we want some encouragement, a place to vent frustrations and furies, or request some specific kind of task be done. We cannot live alone in a vacuum and expect to accomplish all that we set out to do. Inevitably what we do will affect others and to be effective we must have contact with others to encourage us or to mentor us to help us along the way. Having support when we are emotionally vulnerable is a necessity, no matter how loudly we may choose to deny it, we cannot suffer in a void and expect to survive intact without the support of at least one individual, and preferably, support from a network. Though we might want to avoid many of those at work or in other required places we find ourselves, again, we cannot go on and on, day after day, in a place without some kind support right there, on the spot. Support is not an unbearable thing, support can be a comfort and a refuge, it can alleviate disappointment and applaud success. Why not take or request support when you need or want it?
We all have reasons to feel proud of ourselves, we may have achieved a goal we have set ourselves or that someone else has set for us, we may, in company with a team, have overcome an obstacle or removed a barrier to success, or we may have made it through the day in the face of opposition. All of these victories, and more, are things that we should feel proud of. But pride, well-deserved pride, has acquired a negative connotation that it doesn’t always deserve. However, an excess of pride can, and should, be seen as harmful to others and, in time, detrimental to the prideful person. Those who are proud of themselves for undeserving reasons or feel proud that they are better than anyone else without justification give pride a bad name. With these bad examples, seen almost anywhere, it can feel embarrassing or dishonest to receive praise and recognition for the things we have done that we should feel proud of. When it comes to hiding our light under a bushel, thus fostering false modesty, we might consider again choose to accept accolades, and most importantly, acknowledge to ourselves that we have done something admirable, handled a bad situation well, that we are really good people. Wouldn’t you like to feel pride in yourself without guilt?
When we panic due to a situation, place, or thing our reactions are individual with little or no effect upon those surrounding us. While we may feel ourselves to be in extremis, the result, be it shortness of breath, shaking, rapid heartbeat, or more symptoms out of the many that may occur, no one around us is likely to be exhibiting any of the same symptoms. Things are different when people or animals panic as a group in response to any number of stimuli, primarily external physical events. We may, as a group, react emotionally, positively or negatively, to another group, as at an athletic event; we may react angrily to a group trying to restrain us, as in a demonstration or rally; we may act unthinkingly and viscerally during a disastrous event. When we react strongly as a group we tend to transform into a mob, a conglomerate of limbs and voices and imitative actions with no head; this is frighteningly dangerous. Although maintaining your head while others have lost theirs, one must realize that trying to reason with panicking people, either singly or in a mob will very rarely do any good and may get you hurt or worse. Unless it is your job one should look after oneself first when engulfed in a panicked mob or when tempted to interfere with a panicked person posing danger to others, don’t you think?
There are always at least two combatants when people, athletic teams, countries, and more are challenged, one by another; what is hard to remember (and people usually don’t want to remember) is that the opposition is made up of people just as human as you, or any other person. By humanizing your opponent you tend to weaken yourself or blunt the edge of your aggressive behavior; which is something you cannot afford to do if you wish to come out ahead in the conflict. You may not even know what the conflict is about, and may not care anyway, leaving the tactics, strategy, and decision-making to others. But you know that if the “bad guys” haven’t been labeled as such and demoted, in your head, to either ‘not real’ or ‘not human’ status, you won’t perform at your highest peak. Once everyone, opponents included, are seen to hurt and bleed like you, love and care for their families like you, and to have dreams and goals like you, the differences between you don’t seem so great. However there are those who don’t understand humanity or everyday people, and want political or ultimate power or a legacy for themselves. To check or halt these people we must sometimes resort to war and violence and it is admirable and amazing how the foot soldiers on all sides retain their humanity, compassion, and reverence for all human life. I honor all those who serve their countries now and who have served in the past, don’t you?
We can and have glanced at or watched situations in which someone has taken over another’s territory physically, mentally, or emotionally. We assume that we will never find ourselves in such a position; but we may very well be wrong about that and find ourselves there in spite of ourselves. Those who co-opt others’ places, intellectual property, or friends and family tend to insinuate themselves slowly and carefully into their victims’ lives so that each intrusive step taken doesn’t seem intrusive. Barely noticeable as those steps may be, they still add up and soon we may find ourselves out in the cold and powerless in more ways than one. Frequently there is a slight aura of discomfort emanating from people who poach, a hardly noticeable whiff of overconfidence and entitlement that can be easily waved away as we tell ourselves that it isn’t real and isn’t this person really a good, kind friend? It is here that we must tap our own confidence and have enough of it to trust our own instincts and gut feelings. After all, that’s part of what instincts and hunches are for: to help protect us and warn us danger in its many forms. Acting on those instincts, particularly when being co-opted, shouldn’t be a matter of deliberation and hesitation. If we can’t trust ourselves to act in our own interests, who can we trust to do so?