Photo by Levi Saunders on Unsplash
I’ve been doing dry January and, to be honest, I can’t wait to do the first line of this week’s song … go down the pub! Yet where I’ve decided to go alcohol free for the month to practice some discipline and will power, strength of character is not the problem for the character written about in this Kinks song.
As the opening verse explores the complex and contradictory nature of the person characterised, we get to see it’s not the person’s manners or appearance that is costing him in life, but his attitude. There is something a little aloof about this character as shown in the instruction for him to take off his headphones and listen to what’s going on; pay some attention and respect to those around him. His attitude to others is costing him his friendships.
This got me thinking; what parts of my attitude need changing? I don’t think I’m aloof, but one of the lyrics did strike a chord: You mustn’t be so defensive. On the whole I’m a pretty quietly confident guy, but I do recognise the desire to defend my position needlessly at times. And when I do, am I really respecting the other person?
Listening to this song, I think there’s some pretty good advice for me to consider. As the penultimate verse notes, when I begin to feel defensiveness, I need to remember to be positive. Defensiveness suggests you are being attacked, and in all honesty, that is rarely the case. To quote the song, it is more often just an opportunity to join in the dance of a thought-provoking discussion which I am missing out on.
As the final verse indicates, most of the time, all the negatives are in my brain. So, the challenge for me this week is to allow myself to sit with a little discomfort when I don’t leap to defending myself. Instead to positively believe that there is usually no need for me to be defensive, but every need for me to have a generous attitude toward others. Something that will serve me well not only this dry January, but also when I return to the world of the pub in February.