Does This Make Me Look Like a Bum?

I was out for a walk this afternoon in my neighborhood. The sun was such that I had to wear my hat at a little bit of an angle to keep it out of my eyes – you know, kind of like when you’re driving and you move your sun visor over to the side window?

It looked a little something like this…

As I was walking I passed three boys – probably in their early teens. Tough guys, I think. One of them made a comment. He said something to the effect that I looked like a bum.

He didn’t say it to me, of course. He said it to his friends – to show off how cool he was.

How did I react?

Well, of course, part of me wanted to lash out and teach him a lesson about respect that he wouldn’t soon forget. I’m glad I didn’t act on that impulse. Instead, I walked on and thought about how insecure he must feel. I wondered what he would’ve said, if anything, had he been alone.

It made me think of the very real struggle teens face today to discover who they are and what their place is in this world and how, sadly, many of them are caught in a cycle of deception.

It doesn’t stop when we leave our teens, though. We can all be like that teen at times. We can feel like our lives, or even just occasional circumstances, are out of our control and we reach for something that will give us an immediate sense of control –

– Outbursts of anger
– Manipulative comments
– Physical aggression or bullying
– Passive-aggressive behavior
– Lying, cheating, stealing
– Food/Substance abuse
– etc.

The deception is that it’s a false sense of control.

I feel it with my neighbor who refuses to cooperate and insists on playing obscenely loud music. I want to talk some sense into her, get her attention at the very least, yet she stubbornly ignores every attempt I make to try and have a civil conversation with her.

The good news is that there is always the option to exercise a kind of control that will leave us with no regrets.

We could call it self-control, but what if our sacred self was actually responsible for doing good? What if it’s our ego that’s causing the problem? Maybe a better name for it might be ego-control.

Interestingly, I found a list that contrasts the sacred self with the ego. (Obviously, you can substitute ego and sacred self with other words you might be more familiar with.) Here are a couple of excerpts from that list…

Ego has to get even.
Our sacred self knows to let it go.

Ego loves intimidation.
Our sacred self loves compassion.

Ego likes to fight.
Our sacred self loves to heal.

If you’d like to check out the full list, you can find it here

In any case, I hope you enjoy your holiday!

Here’s to being the difference!

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