With 2 people just staring at me when I smiled, one nodding without a smile and only one forcing a very tight-lipped smile today I was left to ponder a familiar topic again. Why are we all so guarded against each other? We go out into the world armed for battle. In the stone age we would go out from our caves, spear in hand, to hunt or just defend ourselves from the wild world around us. There was a lot of danger from all around us. With our lack of sharp teeth or claws we were walking bait so we had to use our minds to defend ourselves. Now, very few of us actually live near wild animals that are not in cages. Still, when we leave the comfort of home we take up our weapons to defend against the new threat, social contact.
Just like many animals see eye contact as aggression many of us view this as invasion of our personal space. When it happens we often either avert our eyes to push the other person back out of our space or just return the eye contact. We seemed torn between convincing the other to “back down” and break eye contact and just being dumbfounded that they would “attack” us like that.
The smile that we used to crave and clamor for when we were young now sometimes seems like an assault. Do I know that person? What right do they have to smile at me. Don’t smile back. That would be like giving in and it would show weakness.
How did we get to this point? It seems like we would have done better to have our increased exposure to each other draw us closer rather than have it cause us to build shields. Yes, there is the possibility that another person might harm us physically or mentally if we let them in. It is also possible, and a whole lot more likely, that they could help us, back us up, lend support, be there when we need them. Is it better to have some friends that you gain by risking that exposure or to be alone on your island, safe from experiencing life? I’m not sure who said it but I think it is a good guideline to remember, Don’t take life so seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway.