If you choose to work alone is it because you think you can do anything all by yourself and want the sole credit for the work? Is it because you don’t like others and want to run things in only your way? Is it because you don’t want anyone to see what you’re doing? Or is it because the work only requires one to get it done quickly and efficiently, or to save others the trouble, or because you need some alone-time? Whatever the reason, isn’t it good to at least consider company while working?
There are some, perhaps more than we know, who live by the above tenet; their belief is in power and their motto is “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” Though they may not even realize that they are doing so, these people who believe that might is right nevertheless trample on people’s beliefs and appropriate their possessions without compunction without thought or explanation. To combat such depredations we must first recognize that they are happening in the first place, that we are being invaded and that our property, physical or mental, is being co-opted. Just as these powerful and charismatic people are often blind to their own actions and the effects of those actions, they are also blind to your rights and reactions and it must be pointed out that they are stepping over established boundaries. Though it is difficult, one must stand one’s ground against those who, by their very competence or confidence, believe they are more qualified to manage or have control of your person, those you are responsible for, or your property. Standing one’s ground can be quite difficult, but is much easier by not making a scene or entering into a shouting match; quiet steadfastness and a firm resolution to hang on to your responsibilities often defuse what can be a tense situation. Wouldn’t you rather hang on to what is yours?
When we look into, watch others looking into, or observe anything placed in front of a mirror, or any other reflective surface, we assume that that mirror is showing us an exact representation of ourselves, others, or anything else found in front of it. While we know intellectually that there can never really be a completely faithful mirror image portrayed due to imperfections in the reflective surface, the light source, and other outside factors, what we usually fail to take into account is that our halves don’t match and that we don’t generally perform a complete inspection of our selves or our apparel so that when we look in a mirror we are often taken a little aback by what we see. We also tend not to scrutinize objects or other people closely enough that a mirror image will be close enough to identify them.
We stumble over the matter of perception almost every time we look at and make judgements about a mirror image. We may think we know what we look like, but there have been many times that we’ve glanced in a mirror and wondered who that stranger was standing there; or have looked in a rearview mirror and not been able to judge the distance from or make out what kind of car we see there; or reached for a vegetable in the market and bump our hand against the glass. Unlike looking in a pond or a puddle that we know has ripples and other distortions, we make assumptions about man-made reflections when should look at all reflections with a grain of salt or with admiration for the artistic license taken by these inanimate objects. Wouldn’t honing observational skills help us modify our assumptions?
Sometimes, no matter how good our intentions, we find ourselves butting heads with someone. Perhaps we always butt heads with the same person, perhaps we butt heads with anyone around us. And, in general, those we butt our heads against will butt back; this creates an atmosphere and aura around both that is uncomfortable and irritating to those in the vicinity of both the butt-er and butt-ee. If all parties are, as a rule, in the same place at the same time a more than undesirable situation ensues and supports strife and dissension in the workplace, home, athletic site, or any place people are thrown together over and over. Once such an atmosphere has been established it is very difficult to defeat it and move on to a comfortable environment. We do have a choice – we can make an effort to be aware of our effect upon others, to see how our behavior affects those around us. From there we can make the choice to avoid the person we normally butt heads with, we can make overtures to that person and agree upon a truce, we can appeal to that person’s better nature (they must have one), or we can be strictly “business as usual” with them. Though we may think that making peace should be a mutual responsibility, shouldn’t we make the first effort at striking a truce anyway?
We all do it, we all do it hundreds of times each day. We have to swallow to eat and drink and to clear the saliva from our mouths. We swallow in fear, in pain, in surprise, and in wonder. But there are things that it is much harder to swallow yet we are asked to do so every day. We’re asked to swallow acceptance of injustice and the injurious decisions made by thoughtless politicians. We’re asked to swallow the perpetuation of atrocities, the formidable burdens placed on us as citizens of ‘civilized’ nations, and the lies of our ‘leaders.’ These indigestible chunks are fearsome and incomprehensible but can be put aside for more immediate and personal concerns. It is much harder to swallow being faced with an unfair workload or a constant diet of anger as well as lies. But it is also easier to make a choice to not swallow these more immediate visible servings of ire and neediness. We must step back and stop swallowing everything we see, hear, and feel. Once we’ve stopped, then we can evaluate the situation or situations, then we can choose what we’re allowing down our gullet and what we’ll leave by the wayside.By not swallowing patent untruths or unconscionable situations to occur in our smaller, personal circle we can begin to attack larger concerns. Isn’t it better to look before you swallow?
There may be one or more in our family, group, or community who have done or think things we believe they should not. Sometimes a group or all of us will shun this individual, not allow them a place or a voice within the community and may even behave as if they do not exist. This behavior, while effective by actively ridding the group of a nuisance, does not remain effective and not only damages the shunned one but the ones doing the shunning. While it may be necessary for a single person in a group to shun another person in order to maintain their sense of self and their self-respect it is a mistake for the entire community to act in concert and shun that person. Shunning is a mob activity that rarely, if ever, looks at or sees both sides of a situation and fosters intolerance. A better way to ease a painful situation is to calmly look at all the circumstances and follow a humane path to resolution. Once mob behavior is allowed in one situation, it can, and sometimes does, water the weed of mob behavior and create a predominantly negative family, group, or community. Shunning can be avoided by common sense and a level head. Justice can best be served by rational thought and a balanced view of things, don’t you think?
Some people are truly different from most others and, since uniqueness is generally admired and envied, frequently the qualities of their uniqueness are picked up on and imitated. While it is fine to imitate the dress and mannerisms of a person or a group you admire, as long as the dress and mannerisms is not harmful to yourself or others, it is important to remember that you are not that person and that a group is not a person, but is made up of individuals. Recognizable characteristics often define a group or organization and that is a source of pride to those groups; specific names may even be given to such groups, as in generational names, names given to a particular way of thinking, or formally organized entities. The foundation of all these groups, however, is human beings. As human beings we have certain boundaries and can only do what humans do, mentally and physically. There are two important things to remember: one, you are the same as everybody else no matter how you change your looks and mannerisms, and two, you are unique and different from anybody else, with your own thoughts and feelings. Don’t you love to take comfort and pride in your humanity and to savor your own uniqueness?