Self Improvement

I’m Prejudiced Against Spiders

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, which is no surprise, because, I’m a thinker.  It’s what I do.  If I could get paid to be a lifelong student and philosopher, I would.  My mind constantly trails off into other realms while I am supposed to be focused on my task at hand, whatever it may be.  So here is one of my random thoughts that lasted a little too long.

I’m prejudiced against spiders!  Now, I know they are not the same species as myself, but do they have to be?  Merriam-Webster defines prejudice as:

1 :  injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especially :  detriment to one’s legal rights or claims

2a (1) :  preconceived judgment or opinion (2) :  an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge     b :  an instance of such judgment or opinion     c :  an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

Of course, Merriam-Webster is talking about judgment of people, but part 2a states “preconceived judgment or opinion” and that is clearly my relationship with spiders.  I want to crush them all with extreme prejudice!  I don’t want to live near them, I don’t want them in my house, my yard, my schools or my town.  I’m afraid they will crawl in my mouth or bite me while I’m sleeping.  I’m also pretty certain they are planning world domination while I’m not looking.  Some are poisonous and have killed in the past and even though the vast majority poses no harm, I’m petrified.  After all, they just look mean.  Is that fair to the spider who has done nothing but exist on the same planet as me?  No.  Have I cared whether it was fair or not?  No.  Is that a good way to live my life?  Nope.

So here is what I was thinking.  I have an irrational fear of spiders.  I mean I am simply terrified of them and always have been.  If there are too many around at once, and I am not able to regroup before the next sighting, I will break down and cry.  It’s not a pretty picture and I am not proud of it.  But, this is my issue and not the fault of the spider.  As my issue, it is my responsibility to work on it, I do not expect spiders to stay away because of my fears.  They have just as much purpose on this planet as I do and, depending on the day, maybe even more of a purpose.  Removing one 5’11” woman from the Earth probably doesn’t make much difference, but the amount of spiders it would take to fill the same amount of space as a 5’11” woman, that’s a lot of spiders and could change the ecosystem in that area for a bit.  They repopulate rapidly, so it wouldn’t make much difference for long.  The question now is how I can change my irrational fear so that I am no longer forcing my prejudice on the spider. 

Education and empathy is my answer.  Learn about the spider and find out all the awesome different things they can do.  For example, there are spiders that can make super long webs, really fast, that will fly through the air on the wind and attach to something on the other side, like a tree.  Then they can make their web and catch insects flying above a river.  Something so small can do something so big.  They really are master architects with their webs.   As for empathy, I can’t ask a spider what its life has been like, but I can look at their lives objectively and get an idea.  Think of what it would be like to just be hanging out, trying to find food and some giant comes along and takes away your home or worse, tries to step on you and kill you.  Of course most spiders are in the wilderness, but they have their predators such as snakes, birds, cats and even other spiders.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like some pretty tough living.

Spider

My goofy spider cartoon needs some work.

Everyone is trying to live our lives and survive, maybe create a home and enjoy life while we are here.  If I’m the one with the fears, shouldn’t I be working on that myself and not expect the ones I’m afraid of to just step out of the way and go live somewhere else so I can feel safe and happy?  Nothing about prejudice is rational, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be rational about it and work on myself to change.

Sincerely,

Future spider friend.

Citations

“Prejudice.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2017.

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My Continued Struggle

It’s been a few months since I decided to deactivate my facebook and spend less time on social media.  Life without facebook has been so much easier than I expected!  I have even noticed that I am proud of not being attached to my phone.  Much like my pride when I quit smoking and drinking.   When you make an effort to improve your way of life, you should be proud of yourself.

Do I occasionally find myself reaching toward the facebook app?  Of course!  Obviously, I should have deleted the app, but I only think about it for a millisecond out of habit and its extremely easy to redirect myself.

How do I keep in touch with my friends?  I don’t.  I realize that may seem harsh, but I’m not really a social person anyway.  I will text people occasionally to make plans, but if I was only keeping in touch by clicking a like button on a picture or meme that you posted, I wasn’t really invested in our interaction anyway.  People think they are, but think about it, how much effort do you really put into liking a post?  Sure, maybe you spent time finding the emoji you think fit the moment best, but its not like you spent the time to put pen to parchment and focus solely on your relationship with this person.  I would love to bring back the days of writing letters but that is a subject for another blog, another day.

What do I do with my extra time?  Everything.  Nothing.  Life is a beautiful thing, try not to miss too much of it.

My Struggle Today

On Sunday, I decided that I should reduce my dependency on social media as a way to waste time until my eventual death.  Because, that’s really what we are doing.  At least that’s what I am doing.  It’s called social media, but it’s not being social when you are ignoring people you are out with in an attempt to be legitimately social.  For me, all social media seems to do is further alienate me.  Before everyone posted their meals, feelings, politics and every other aspects of their daily lives on full volume, I had know idea I was so different from the norm.  The problem is that I am probably not much different than everyone else, just different than everyone that is loud.

I decided my Facebook was what needed to go.  Out of everything I am involved with online, Facebook causes me the greatest stress.  I have never felt that I could really be myself on my own page because so many people that I know are completely different from myself and, if I go by their posts, not interested in accepting other sides.  Not to mention my own limitations of accepting other views.  Not much would get me as angry as a ridiculous political meme.  I’m not against people keeping in touch with their friends and making new friends.  There are some great things that can come from social media, but I am a firm believer in removing any stress that is in your power to remove.  I have always had issues with holding onto stress and need to minimize all the stress I can so bye bye Facebook and hello blogging and the outside world!

Fast forward to today and my Facebook free life.  It sounds great, but as I have discovered, quite difficult to adjust to after years of regularly scrolling through updates or posting pics of the things I find worth sharing.  There were several times that I found myself reaching for my phone or iPad to see what people were up to or if anyone has commented on my lasted posts.  It has been such a struggle to stay on the path.  I know it’s possible to reduce my dependency on social media and I am looking forward to spending more time outside, learning and experiencing the world with my complete attention.  If nothing else, at least I will get to spend more time smelling the roses.