Don’t Let Anyone Look Down On You
I re-read the biblical passage in 1 Timothy 4:12 a few days ago:
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”*
I live in North America where we celebrate youth. We almost worship them. Advertisers cater to young people, cosmetic giants spend billions developing and selling facial creams and hair dye to make people younger. We even joke about staying 29 forever.
This is in sharp contrast to many cultures that value age and experience.
Wherever you go, somebody is going to look down on you. Fill in the blank: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are _____________________________.
What is it for you? Old? Black? Oriental? Southerner? Gay? Female? Male? White? Toothless? Uneducated? Educated? Geeky? Technophobe? Unattractive? Fat? Skinny? Tall? Short? Muslim? Manager? Working class? Rich?
What might it mean to not let anyone look down on you? Would wisdom say this is primarily an internal or external response?
If it were an external response, it would mean lashing out and fighting back. I might disrespect the other, score some verbal points or look down on others by treating them with contempt. Well those don’t help, now do they? In my college interpersonal class, we’re studying appropriate emotional responses; trying to get even is not one of the principles for successful communication or relationships.
I think wisdom says the response is internal. How do you see yourself? Do you look down on yourself? You will live your life by the script in your head.
I used to visit the Home Depot improvement store and feel intimidated by all the men. But after years of working on my home AND dealing with shit related to my self-image (especially my female self), I now go into that store with my head held high, not intimidated by anyone. The change needed to happen in me.
Most of our battles are fought between our ears.
There are many studies that show how we mirror each other. We project things about ourselves, and people react to them. How we think of ourselves is a determining factor in how we are thought of my others. How we communicate is a determining factor in how others communicate to and about us.
Don’t let anybody look down on you.
*HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
Royalty-free image courtesy of Naveen Saxena from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/488666