Conceit

Conceit: (n) excessive pride in oneself

What is excessive?

It reminds me of the old saying about prunes: “Is two enough? Is six too many?”

Of course, the source of that little piece of whimsy is that if you eat too few, your bowels won’t flow, and if you eat too many, you end up funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
gushing.

I guess that’s the way it is with conceit.

If you don’t have enough self-awareness to believe in your abilities to get you through the tough times, then you’ll probably have a life that’s constipated–gripped in fear.

On the other hand, if you think the journey is all about proclaiming the power of your excellence, you will produce so much information that people will not want to be near you.

Here’s a simple way to handle it:  when someone asks what you do, tell them without adding any of your credentials and awards.

For instance, someone asked me the other day: “What do you do for a living?”

I responded, “I’m a writer.”

I stopped. I didn’t explain what I write, how much I write, or whether someone, somewhere decided to give me an award for my scrawlings.

As it turned out, they were completely comfortable with my answer and pursued no further.

Had I produced one more “prune of thought,” my questioner would have been turned off by my self-gushing.

 

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Classless

Classless: (adj) having no class

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then kindness may only dwell in the mind of God.

We seem to have an excuse for every occasion when we resort to crude behavior. At least I do. (Forgive me for speaking for you.)

Being rude is usually a by-product of a reaction which comes quickly. We just don’t train ourselves enough before going out in public.

Oh, yes–we must practice our humanity. It is needful for us to envision scenarios when we are offended, shut out of the moment, so we can have some idea what is going to pour forth from our personality.

We should be saying “I’m sorry” a whole lot less because we have taken into consideration the possibility of affrontation.

For after all, some of our fellow-travelers do not feel powerful unless we are weakened.

They don’t sense their value unless everyone around them has been put in the bargain bin.

And they don’t wish to be nice because they view it as a definable weakness.

If you don’t practice class, you will be classless. If you hang around with folks who insist that you don’t need to say, “Thank you” or “I appreciate that,” it’s only because they plan on starving you from that warmth coming from them.

My family often thinks I am silly, because in the process of any given evening, I may say, “thank you” a hundred and twenty times. As you consider how excessive that may be, I am musing over how I could do it more.

When I do something good, I make sure I enjoy it thoroughly, because stumbling around waiting for others to express their admiration is a formula for deep depression.

We are a classless society simply because we are waiting for someone else to start it up, and no one has taken the time to put the fuel in their engine to accelerate toward tenderness.

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Baggage

Baggage: (n) personal belongings packed in suitcases for traveling; luggage.Dictionary B

For about two years, I did a lot of flying.

Since my personal wings never came in to my satisfaction, I used the airlines. This was prior to the attacks on 9/11. Things were looser then.

Since I was a musical act, I decided to travel with all my instruments and sound equipment. This created a lot of baggage. And honestly, some of it was beyond the 70-pound limit that Southwest Airlines said they would tolerate.

There were two of us traveling, and at that time we were allowed six units. So it became obvious that we were going to have a problem each and every week on our journey if we didn’t find some way to get around the weight limit and the obvious accumulation of baggage that was necessary to take our show on the road.

So I did what I considered to be an intelligent action–I became friends with the skycaps. And the best way to become friends with skycaps is to tip very well, and be nice. (But mostly tip very well.)

I overdid it. But in the process of being excessive, when the skycaps saw me arrive at the airport, they practically wrestled one another to get the privilege of serving me and putting through my numerous bags, which were obviously beyond the realms of airline acceptability.

It worked beautifully.

And I remember on one particular flight, I was thinking about the success of this system–and how it might be applicable to my everyday life.

Since I know I have a lot of baggage and some of it is over the limit, it is a good idea to make sure that I’m always nice, and I leave behind enough blessing and remuneration… to make people glad to see me when I arrive.

 

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Adulation

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adulation: (n) obsequious flattery; excessive admiration or praise: e.g. he found it difficult to cope with the adulation of the fans.

Excessive admiration.

Doggone. That got me thinking. (Actually, if you’re going to be a writer, you should do some thinking. This premise may not be obvious, especially when you view articles in print. But a certain amount of reasoning, perceiving and a few thought bubbles should precede the process of jotting down lasting words in an essay.)

What is excessive? And what is admiration?

You know, I really think this is something human beings have worked out on their own. We have this great phrase: “admiring from afar.”

Even though I get grumpy and have the occasional lamentation because people don’t inform me of what they like about me, I do realize that they tell others. Maybe there’s something in the human psyche, or our “jungle sense,” which lets us know that we shouldn’t puff people up too much lest we burst them and splatter their contents to the four winds.

So instead, we tell others how much we like them, using that old-fashioned “trickle down” theory. In other words, we hope that what goes around really DOES come around.

There are too many people in this world, though, who hear too much praise and others who are destitute of having their hands lifted and their burdens lightened.

That sucks.

I mean, let’s be honest. Are the people we see on television REALLY the “best” at anything?

Even though I write, perform, compose and so forth, there are many other individuals worthy of more praise than me. So I’m careful to deflect the teaspoon of adulation I receive instead of swallowing it like medicine or licking it like honey off a stick.

Why? Because it’s excessive.

I also do not like religious services in which God is always “adored” and great adulation is given to His Holy Name–when really, as a Father, He would appreciate it if the kids would just pick up the room.

Yes, when you’re a parent, you don’t need your children to come around with saccharine affection, hugging you around the neck all the time. It would just be nice if they would take the trash out at the end of the day.

I don’t like adulation. I do like appreciation. Whenever something is done in kindness it should be acknowledged and encouraged.

But to insist that the person hung the moon because he or she was considerate ,,, is certainly lunacy.