December 1

Today's quotation:

Learn from the earliest days to inure your principles
against the perils of ridicule:  you can no more exercise
your reason if you live in constant dread of laughter than
you can enjoy your life if you are in the constant terror of death.

Sydney Smith

Today's Meditation:

What Sydney's saying is that if we're very sensitive about what other people think of what we say and do, then we've made the choice to be sensitive--we've made the choice not to build up our resistance to other people's ridicule and laughter.  If we fear ridicule, then we can't act as we believe we should, and we may do things that we probably shouldn't.

So it's up to us to inure ourselves against ridicule.  The stakes are pretty high if we don't, for then we'll be letting other people's possible reactions determine the actions that we take.  We'll be turning ourselves into marionettes and handing the strings to anyone whose ridicule we fear.

Some of the people who later in life have been regarded as the most intelligent, most creative, or most innovative have dared to step outside the normal boundaries of their chosen fields and risk the ridicule, teasing, or even insults of other people.  To them, their own vision was more important than what others might say about what they were doing.  They trusted themselves and their own reason, and they were able to reach their dreams and goals and visions no matter how many obstacles they faced.  They simply didn't let other people get and keep them down.

One can develop an immunity to some poisons by continually giving themselves small doses of that poison.  They inure themselves against the poison so that it no longer can affect them.  The ridicule of others is poison to our spirits, and it's important that we develop an immunity to it so that we may live our lives free of the fear of losing our potential because of what someone else may say to us or about us.

Questions to consider:

In what ways might you build up an immunity to other people's reactions to your actions or words or ideas?

Why do so many people worry so much about what others think?

What does it mean to be "in constant dread of laughter"?  Why do so many people have this dread?

For further thought:

Ridicule is like a wolf:  it destroys only those who fear it.

unattributed

  

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