One of the things that became fairly pervasive for awhile was the regular practice of chipping away at someone elses confidence, opinion, etc. Chipping and chipping to see what fell apart. If I had to try to articulate the original intent behind doing that, I’d say it had a lot to do with seeing someone with a desire to grow, and in a way that practically asked for someone else to come along and start hammering a chisel into them. Those that take it upon themselves to chip away at others rarely learn that it doesn’t always work. There’s a point, with certain people, situations, or engagements when it becomes merely a nuisance.
Some people see you’ve cracked their hide and they slide an armor plate into place every single time you do it, and then they’ll retaliate because, simply put, it’s just in their nature. The ones you can genuinely, successfuly break through to see something revealed, saw they could put their insights to use, and usually don’t feel the need to retaliate – and if they do, it’s usually to return a sincere favor… But even with these ones, they don’t always need to be chipped at, and they get tired of people trying to peck at them.
When it comes to those individuals that’ve had inner layers exposed through the efforts of other students, colleagues, teachers, guides, contemporaries, or whatever else (usually of folks they regard as peers) and they learn to do it to themselves, there’s a point when the efforts of all of these other people are no longer wanted or needed, at least not nearly as much, and perhaps not most of the time. It becomes akin to gnats hovering, buzzing around, looking for anything soft, wet, and vulnerable, flying at your eyes, biting, and so on. Just gnats.
I don’t know about most people, but to me… if I go fishing and gnats are flying around and bugging me, there are two main responses that immediately come to mind. Try to smack them, which fails to make them go away more often than not, or embrace them as the minor annoyances they are. With human beings, the method of smacking them works more so than it does with actual gnats, but it still doesn’t work all the time. In doing the latter, I factor them in, account for them, but generally shift my attention back to where I want it.
I might expand on this a little more, at least loosely; one of the more recent discussions at the Force Academy (Judging Bad) stimulated a stream of thoughts that relate, to some extent, in a way that encourages a deeper understanding of the dynamics between observations, if (or how) they’re shared with the one being observed, and what one might actually do with judgments and criticisms from various kinds of people. In short, I might go into how people, even those that seem to be gnats from time to time, are not, after all, merely a nuisance.