With apologies to the Beatles and Eleanor Rigby, “All the decent people where do they all come from?” Songs and refrains stick in my mind and this one has been there all week. My buddy Patrick sent me an article written by a Doc from the Mayo Clinic. It had to do with self importance. It seems to me to be a real clash with decency. Let me try to get it right.
Down deep we all want to be someone. Not necessarily famous but to be a contributing part of society. A tip of the hat or a pat on the back will suffice for most. In a way it is Thank You For Your Service….to the world you live in. A recognition that you matter.
For some that is not enough. The warped sense of self is starved and emaciated. If you don’t think you are getting enough attention then you try to do something about it. The easiest way is to put someone down. It could be a friend or coworker or even a lesser person on staff. You chastise them to make them look inferior and you superior. Good luck on that
I love going to a party, especially a big one. Now if you are full of yourself, air kisses only. Don’t let people get too close. Bro hugs are out of the question. As you work the room you are looking for where the cool people are. You shake hands while scanning the crowd looking for someone who is really important. A quick,”You take care now,” having listened to nothing that person said. Man, are you good!
Your best bet is to stay within a very close knit group. Same faces. Same talk. Very predictable. Don’t want to look stupid. Politics? Only the Left or Right and nothing in between. You are sure of yourself and do not want a scintilla of doubt to creep in. You pepper your conversation with “you must” or “you should” go to this restaurant or country or whatever. You are the cat’s meow.
In a way it is a terribly sad life. Your day is taken up by what you think people are thinking about you. You worry about your looks, your clothing, your car, your spouse or significant other. Are they up to snuff? Comparing, analyzing, equating. Gotta have the latest, fastest, prettiest, biggest or most expensive. There can’t be anyone better than you.
Some of you laugh and say that couldn’t possibly be so. Others are now tinged with a little guilt that some of this might be part of you. In actuality it is apart of all of us. We want to take pride. There is nothing wrong with that. Even this old fart looks at the mirror in the morning and thinks I am not looking half bad. Emphasize the half part.
And then that is when people are decent. They realize they are part of a universe that does not revolve around them. They have their faults and foibles. The game is to keep them to a minimum. They really do care about their fellow man or woman, especially when they are hurting. They give to others and they give of themselves. They are willing to take the chance. They are okay with being open, warts and all.
My most despised trait as many of you know is arrogance. The failure to believe that any one else’s ideas could be more believable or acceptable than my own.The fact that someone could be smarter or more talented than me is alien. The fact that I am just an average person in a very smart world. Not a prayer! Yikes!
Being honest with yourself is a bitch but it leads to happiness. Someone once said, if your are truthful you don’t have to remember anything. Life is not a facade but a person like you and me just trying to do our best on the big blue marble.
In closing my favorite thought for honest people is a group of farm people at a simple restaurant in middle America. They are sitting having a cup of coffee and scrambled eggs or a beer and some chips. They are talking about the weather and crops. They have known each other for decades and their families are intertwined.
There are no secrets. They rely on each other in hard times. No one is comparing their work clothes as to who is wearing the latest. Their life is simple and they like it that way. This is where the decent people have gone or should I say have been all along.
But they are everywhere in these United States. Not just farms but staff in hospitals, local merchants, corporate staff and even the higher echelons. Just ordinary people making this whole thing work. We titans of industry and finance and medicine are not all that smart despite our own beliefs. We have made this thing way too complex. Just be ourselves. Nothing more. Nothing less. That’s decent!
Ted The Great
Ironically our self esteem is not based on how others think about us but how we view ourselves. Our ups and downs are created by us not others.
Researchers used ten words to activate stimuli among powerful and collegial people:
The 10 power words included affluence, authority, dominance, fortune, money, power, prestige, reputation, status, and wealth.
The 10 collegial words were affiliation, attachment, belonging, closeness, collaboration, community, cooperation, family, harmony, and relationships
Which ones worked for you?