There is a fast-growing sentiment in the conscience of our nation, that the criminal sentence of solitary confinement is “torture” and as such, illegal under the U.S.Constitution’s proscription of “cruel and unusual” punishment. The absolute denial of the company of other human beings would seem to be directly contrary to man’s understood innate need for the society of other people.
For the purpose of this writing, and regarding its frequent reference to the noun, “friend(s),” we emphatically exclude that designation as used by the maestros of “face book” which signifies (only) that individuals have mutually consented to send and receive e-mail or text messages .Such misused term and relationships have no similarity, in any way imaginable, to the nature of a selective interface which features visual and audible interaction and the exchange of real words and expressive sentiment.
By stark contrast, living in” real” contact with others, personally exchanging thoughts and opinions, ideas and experiences (good and bad), joint celebration of happy events and the rendition of mutual comfort, when needed, are truly life- enhancing phenomena.
Living near familiar company carries with it a cornucopia of benefits including the opportunity for objectivity, physical and emotional assistance, mutual consultation in the search for solutions to problems, experience with other patterns of behavior and thought and with differences in style of attire, cuisine and a myriad of assorted phenomena.
An isolated life is lonely, insulated, self- conscious and amorphous; there are no comparable instructive or referable models to emulate as useful guides to successful living and problem solving.
Fellowship affords to the individual a recognizably ascribed (or self- determined) identity (see: Blog#47) and an overall guide to life- style. It also furnishes normative guides for dress, speech and expectations as well as calibrates responses to specific stimuli (Blog # 23).
We are especially understanding and forgiving in our reaction to the errors and weaknesses of our friends; we offer comforting thoughts, perspective and context, suggestions regarding the specific underlying circumstances, as well as the limited significance of the error, and, importantly, remind the friend of the great many past actions which were performed by him successfully. These are valuable services since most of us suffer excessively, often beyond the materiality of the error.
A puzzling and insightful question may be posed as to why we do not apply a similar objective analysis to ourselves; when we miscalculate, burn dinner, make a spelling error, utter a malapropism, forget an anniversary, drop the football,, even, select the wrong mate; we do not extend to ourselves any grace, understanding or mitigating analysis. Instead we, all too often, overreact and begin to reappraise our former understanding of our self-worth.
Is it because we are too personally insecure that we cannot detach ourselves for a moment and seek a modicum of objectivity? Have we established for ourselves unrealistic standards? Are these the reasons why it seems to take the intercession of a third party friend for consolation and support?
To our main point, we need to be a friend to ourselves in similar manner as we would to someone else, and by being less judgmental of, and more forgiving, to ourselves.
When we make an error or miscalculation, p. would be bold enough to suggest the use of the following queries in aid of the promotion of our respective friendship with ourselves:
(a) What is the actual, realistic extent and impact of the error?
(b) Why define yourself by your mistake; why not by the great many things you have previously done correctly?
(c) Can you reasonably expect yourself to have an aptitude for everything?
Be your own counsellor and friend; you probably deserve it!