Just Say It
I highlighted some word patterns in Number One (1) in No Nonsense Numerology—THE CODE in my last posting. Another word pattern in that number is, (Just Say), meaning to speak reasonably and honestly.
Bullies can easily pound shy people into the ground. Many parents from past generations constantly reminded their offspring that, 'Children are to be seen and not heard.' Perhaps this mantra along with the all-too-easy beatings of their children helped subdue them. Regrettably, the opposite is now true. As a society, we have revolted to a completely contrary position where parents encourage children to speak their minds no matter how meanspirited and mediocre their thoughts. Children now scream at parents who willingly allow their children to assault them verbally and sometimes physically. Timid parents are, perhaps, afraid of being sued by their children in a world turned upside down where parents are 'friends' rather than parents.
I hired a man to do some work for me, who once worked as the maintenance engineer for an apartment building where I lived. His initials are, appropriately, JC. He is one of the gentlest, kindest, and most honest people I have ever met. While we were working, JC told me about his 'step son,' who turned into a holly terror, quite willing to bully anyone over anything to get his way. JC did not raise the boy, but he was going to have his say. He did not bully the boy into compliance. He did, however, ask if he knew about 'elder abuse,' while asking if he could get the boy a phone when threatened with police for making him mind. The boy called it, 'child abuse.'
As he was talking, besides thinking how lucky the boy was to have JC in his life, I thought how much we need Ward and June Cleaver, Beaver's parents, as parental role models today. It is too bad that the TV Land channel is going along with pop culture and producing and airing programs, reflecting the superficial and meanspirited times in which we live. The very nature of the title of the channel suggests they stick to positive programming of past decades. The channel occasionally still airs 'Leave It to Beaver.' Though, it is heartening to see 'Gunsmoke' and 'Bonanza' still being aired that have positive morals in every episode. 'Father Knows Best' and 'The Donna Reed Show' would be good additions.
I was one of those shy children produced by strict standards. I had a quirky face (and still do). It produced laughter from babies when I intended it, and from unintended self-consciousness from classmates when my nerves took over in a Public Speaking class I took to overcome shyness. On the other hand, when relaxed, my mouth automatically turned down into a frown. My baby pictures prove I had a natural pout to my down-turned mouth. As I grew older, I surely had reasons to be sad, but I never gave it much thought. I just lived in the moment and bounced back as children do, getting on with life. My pout had nothing to do with my emotions.
The latter of my faces, however, irritated some people to disturbing lengths. Some had the gall to put their hands on my face, pushing up the corners of my relaxed mouth, saying, 'Smile! What's wrong with you? Why are you so sad? Can't you smile?!' Some were total strangers, so I couldn't imagine how they would assume my current condition.
I never spoke up to those people because I knew that I wasn't sad. If I were sad, I would keep it to myself, sulking privately. Nevertheless, they didn't believe me when I told them I wasn't sad, but years of this began to wear. It was more the rudeness and presumptuousness than anything.
In those days only three channels graced the airwaves. Dr. Irene Kassorla had a segment on the local news, giving tips much like Ann Landers or Dear Abby. I enjoyed her segments and though rarely watched television back then, tried never to miss her. I vaguely recall someone writing in to complain about others criticizing her looks: either, her hair was horrible, her clothes were cloddish, or she was. What could she do?
Dr. Kasssorla said (as well as I can recall), 'With a smile, ask them, ‘Does my [fill in the blank] bother you?' When they answer in the affirmative, say, ‘Then maybe you have a problem.''
The next time someone had the impertinence to put her hands on my face, I told her with the best acting job of politeness I could muster, 'Does my down-turned mouth, bother you?' 'Yes it does,' she snorted. Without rancor, I said, 'Then maybe you have a problem.' I only recall a gasp coming from the departing bully. For, that is what she was.
It broke the spell!
From that moment to this day, no one, not anyone has ever said that to me again, or invaded my space with their pawing hands. I never had to use those words again. I didn't get plastic surgery, giving my mouth The Joker's grimace. I am still the same pouting-mouthed person who also inherited my mother's sad eyes.
Dr. Irene Kassorla's wisdom helped many others also reclaim pieces of their Life Force, not letting others steal their self esteem. We can learn from the wisdom of others as in (Jackass) (Just Ask) under the first One (1) of numbers, if we have experiences to (Adjust) to the wisdom: as dust cannot cling to thin air.
What I've learned since as it has taken other incidents to rightfully speak my mind, is that people who do so give off an aura. People reluctantly confront someone who will hold up a mirror.
'She doesn't take crap,' an executive once said about me when I transferred from one department to another as a floating temp. Nevertheless, I always try to speak my truth quietly and clearly as the soundness of the Desiderata teaches. Perhaps, because I learned too well that children are to be seen and not heard, I didn't pick up bad habits of whining and accusing. I learned to put the onus or responsibility onto the offenders. For example, 'If you wanted someone to do something that she felt was immoral, would you still want her to do it?' 'No, certainly not,' said one executive. 'Good. Then you'll get your own coffee.' The other two responses were, 'I guess I could use the exercise,' or, 'My wife would tend to agree with you.' The woman I was replacing was angrier at me than the men were. She did what she was too shy to complain about. I still kept my job, and the respect of my co-workers. 'I don't get coffee,' just alienates co-workers and employers. I was asked back often to work at that company. It was probably the female Human Resources person who was responsible for my continued employment.
Through the years, I also learned that I will not be responsible for World War III, and that in an argument between myself and another, I'm responsible for only 50 percent. In an argument between two others I am responsible for only 33 1/3 percent, nine others, only 10 percent, etc.
When people want to return to the olden days, they are probably referring to the positive aspects of looking both ways before crossing the street and saying please and thank you. They want to return to politeness, civility, and respect for others when patience was a virtue.
Losing self esteem is too easy to do, regaining it is more difficult.
We can lose it of our own accord when we easily scream at others about what we think they have done to us, or what we think that we deserve. Jerry Springer's shows are tedious to anyone with any sense. Adults screaming at each other, is too much like Japanese Parliament—silly and immature. When having to speak our minds to others it is best done reluctantly. When we do so enthusiastically we are no better than those we criticize. Learning to enjoy telling others off can lead down a wrong turn of egotism that is difficult to return from. When we go around the block to avoid saying what needs to be said, by the time we do, that person is long over due. Then we need not beat ourselves up for having to (Just Say) it—politely—if at all possible.
... Stay tuned ...