The Clowns Around Us.

Yesterday I was once again made aware of how the clowns amongst us essentially avoid conflict. When something other than gladness or joy is expressed, like fear, hurt or anger, the clown is quick to tell a joke or make a winsome remark.

The tactic is painfully obvious, superficial and in most cases downright annoying. With the others I gave the polite little smile, and eventually, when I walked away, I thought, “Shit! I should have said something.”

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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34 Responses to The Clowns Around Us.

  1. seaangel4444 says:

    Very astute observations, dear Don. I agree wholeheartedly; when someone is coming from a place of fear, it can often be reflected to appear to be, for lack of a better word, a “smartass” (not so smart though, really). Cher xo

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  2. I’m not exactly sure I know what you mean here Don. Although I do think that humour is used as a coping mechanism at times and can relieve the tension in a difficult situation.
    Diana xo

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    • Don says:

      I think humour can relieve the tension in a difficult situation Diana, but when it’s used in an insensitive way putting a dampener on someone’s earnest expressions of struggle and feeling, that’s another story and that’s precisely what happened in this case. So it was troubling for me because I could see the effect it had on the person sharing.

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  3. Val Boyko says:

    I hear you Don. Not everyone is able to become self aware and accept all aspects of life – especially the downs. Do we judge them for that?…
    As Diana says, bringing lightness and humor is usually a coping mechanism to avoid the consequences of potential conflict. Who knows what these individuals have faced in the past or how their lack of self awareness plays out in their relationship to life.
    It is a human condition that we never know what goes on in others. But we can bring awareness to our selves.
    In my experience, when we are annoyed and triggered … its usually something that we have not fully integrated and accepted as part of ourselves. We know its fully integrated when it doesn’t bother us any more.
    Its okay to be positive and real. Others may not be able to get that. We may not have been able to get that in an earlier part of our lives.
    Embrace your inner clown my friend ๐Ÿ™‚
    Val x

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Val for your insightful comment. I really do appreciate it and what you say is so true. May I express something around a phrase you used, “We know its fully integrated when it doesn’t bother us any more.” I think that certainly pertains to certain aspects of our inner lives and responses. When certain things no longer bother us any more is, as you say, a sure sign of the rich process towards integration, but on the other hand along with that process comes heightened awareness and deeper sensitivity to the things around you and so your “bothering” about things is in a sense deepened, but your reactions to them are different. The one reaction in this whole area is of course when to speak out and when to be silent. That’s the one I often struggle with. In the instance I described someone was really hurt, it bothered me, and I’m really comfortable with that, I would have been uncomfortable if it didn’t. I believe that I could have said something mindful in that situation, but I didn’t. But I’ve let go of that now.Thanks again for a poignant comment I certainly need to take to heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Val Boyko says:

        What I see now … that I didn’t see before, is that its the impact on others that is upsetting. The witnessing of hurt. Speaking out when we witness hurt is something that we all struggle with. Thank you for your clarity Don … and your sensitive heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. nrhatch says:

    I am going to part ways with Val about why we might get annoyed at others. Sometimes, as Val notes, it is because it is a trait we have not fully integrated an accepted as part of ourselves.

    Other times it is for other reasons entirely:

    * I am annoyed (to use a gentle word) with animal abuse, child abuse, and elderly abuse because those actions are morally wrong, not because I share the abuse trait with abusers.

    * I am annoyed at bullies and line cutters and liars and cheats and polluters and litterers because I am acting as “unpaid advocate” for the “little guy” whose rights they are trampling.

    And I can see you getting annoyed at clowns for similar reasons ~ perhaps because they are deflecting what could have been a genuine heartfelt discussion by saying, “Look at ME!”

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    • Don says:

      I agree Nancy, You express it so well. Like you I become deeply disturbed by some of the things that go on around me. I also know that some of my responses to them are sometimes a little over the top because they do come out of my own brokenness, that’s why Val’s comment for me is so deeply valid, but many of my responses are also motivated by a true sense of compassion and a heightened awareness of what is right and wrong and I do like to affirm that. I must say, Nancy, I so enjoy your robustness. ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you.

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      • Val Boyko says:

        Nancy is awesome … she saw into your heart. As you say Don, perhaps exploring both aspects is helpful to us all. I get a sense that one comes from fear (ego) and the other from the heart (compassion). When we know which one is behind our feelings, then it will become more clear.
        Thank you for the reflections and insight!
        Val x

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      • Val Boyko says:

        p.s. The clown isn’t really the issue …. It’s the impact of the behavior on us and what we to do about it…
        Hugs!

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      • nrhatch says:

        I think Val hit the nail on its noggin. When a “clown” acts from a place of compassion (spirit), to defuse tension and allow tempers a chance to cool down, it’s valuable. When a “clown” acts from a place of fear (ego), it’s not valuable and may cause hurt.

        Those of us who witness that hurt may feel our compassion ignite.

        (I enjoyed this comment thread ~ real, heartfelt, and no clowning around).

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    • Don says:

      To both Val and Nancy. I go with you, that’s precisely it, It’s a discerning of both trying to discover whether the response comes out of a place of brokenness or out of a place of true compassion. Thank you for speaking your minds and making the chat so worthwhile and constructive. I really appreciate it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. viewpacific says:

    There are many types of clowns. Those which distract and avoid aren’t really doing much to help. Those which have a broader perspective or experience may be like the kind parent who sees the whole situation and is inviting the troubled one to relax and see further. In many cases, even with a wise and kind parent, the child in us still wants to express our frustration and anger and have our good cry. At the moment, it may seem unkind by these clownish-seeming parent types. With time , we might come to know they were wise and kind. It’s happened that way for me.

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    • nrhatch says:

      That’s a great point ~ sometimes when tensions are high, clowns help to defuse the “ticking time bomb.”

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    • Don says:

      Thank you for your wise comment. Your second category of clown is what I warm to. I like that. When humour is used in a skilled way it can be so wonderfully beneficial and healing, but so debilitating when it is not.

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  6. I think the matter is broader than clowns, Don, although they are a representative segment of a larger population… and concern. My take on this is that we have failed, as a generalized society, to embrace, encourage, and practice the art of open expression — especially when it comes to opportunities for people to share deep personal feelings and emotions.

    A proverbial ‘we’ do not communicate well when we most need (and ought?) to. What seems to creep into those void moments is what we see/hear from the clowns. To others’ comments, maybe they just don’t know how to be genuinely expressive and they default to their protected, undeveloped place.

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    • Don says:

      I’m with you on that, Eric. Society doesn’t easily encourage the art of open expression. I think part of the reason is that it’s fuelled by a form of superficial extroversion which has to be superficially positive in all it’s expressions. No place for any real kind of catharsis or expression of weakness.

      “The sentence that leapt out for me in your comment was this one, “To othersโ€™ comments, maybe they just donโ€™t know how to be genuinely expressive and they default to their protected, undeveloped place.” Beautifully said Eric. Thank you.

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  7. Hudson Howl says:

    Why do you feel you should have said something?

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  8. Darrel H says:

    I totally agree with you. It’s sad when people hide behind jokes.

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  9. Pingback: Why Are You So Annoyed? | Spirit Lights The Way

  10. Pingback: * 4 Questions to Ask When We Get Annoyed | Find Your Middle Ground

  11. Don says:

    Thanks for the pingback, Val. Much appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. Hello. I was sent here by Val and Nancy. I enjoyed this post and its comments. I agree with you and get annoyed at people who make insensitive jokes. The topic touches on another point too that people who are genuinely hurt or sad have a need to express themselves. Too often this is not ‘allowed’ by modern society. We must all be happy all the time. Whether by someone’s ‘joke’ or off-handed remark or even sometimes with a distraction of a ‘fun’ activity, the person is given the message that their feelings (of sadness or hurt) cannot be expressed.

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    • Don says:

      I can’t agree with you more, Elizabeth. You’re so right, be happy at all cost, life is just all fun, even at the expense of suppressing genuine pain. It’s really very sad. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for your visit – much appreciated.

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