Sunday, June 26, 2016

When others look at you in disdain


What do you do when someone gives you a disdain look? I experienced it this morning when I smiled at someone but she looked at me with disdain, probably at the way I walk, which is different from normal, or the way I look, I don't know. 

I was trying to find an understanding to it when I found this article where I agree with the writer on his points on disdain and contempt. Yes, my self defense is one of intellectualisation. I hope to manage myself through a better understanding of the matter. 

What is disdain and why do people have it?

Here are some excerpts from the article. The writer says,

"I want to argue that disdain, contempt, and scorn have no moral place in our emotional lives. In short, my claim is that these emotions are immoral because they target persons and not actions, and they violate the principle of equality of persons. One can feel shame, anger, hatred, or envy in ways that are either correct or incorrect, but disdain is always wrong because it always makes and sustains false judgments...
Disdain seems to be an emotion that carries the judgment that its object is of low status. Disdain plays a much more important role in human social interactions, but one we acknowledge infrequently. Though I don’t think Kant would want me to put it this way, disdain is the opposite of respect. The admixture of respect and disdain seems to be always at issue when we’re apportioning deference and privilege, recognition and understanding. Disdain is the refusal to recognize another as an equal, just as respect is the consciousness of a status deficit on our own part, combined with a gratitude that the respected one does not disdain us as we believe we know she has a right to do. To those we respect, we offer a thoughtful ear, we make an effort to listen carefully, we evaluate situations from their perspective and give them ‘the benefit of the doubt.’ To those we disdain, we react more quickly and vengefully, withhold forgiveness, and perhaps in some situations we even experience ourselves as worthy of greater respect by virtue of our comparative value to the disdained one...
Meanwhile, this disdain is all-too-frequently internalized by its victims, such that they, too, come to hold themselves in contempt...
Disdain, however, seems to meet with nothing to correct it, because it is not actually ‘about’ something that meets minimum standards of moral verification. Ultimately, disdain and honor both make the same fundamental category mistake: they assume that status is a moral question. I maintain that status is a social fact, not a moral fact. Though human social interactions are themselves shot through with status evaluations, a person acting morally ought not to act in a status conscious way. The fact that our emotions constantly tempt us with status judgments does not render those judgments moral. Where anger and bitterness target actions, and hatred reflects a judgment about a person’s character or a refusal to forgive a harm, contempt targets a persons’ status and not an actions’ morality. From the perspective of morality, all persons deserve equal respect. Our evaluations of a person’s actions may truly reflect the justice or injustice of those actions, but the only truth-tracking moral judgment is one that reports that persons are of equal moral status. Therefore contempt is immoral."

I am sad that we have contempt in our hearts. It is indeed immoral to look down on others because of their status or condition that do not meet up to yours. 

So what do I do with the person who looked at me in disdain this morning? Well, I do not need to put myself up to her standard or level of acceptance. I do not stand before her. I stand before my God. I am who I am and I am a child of God who is covered by the blood of Christ. I live and exist by God's standard and he made me who I am. 

What do I do with her and anyone who had or will look at me in disdain, I will obey Ephesians 4:32, to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave me. 

I am also reminded of Romans 2:1-29 where I myself is also being warned: Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. 

And there is good encouragement in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10: So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.



  1. This is brilliant. Thank you for this blog.uou have furthered my understanding of the insult and pain of contempt and disdain.

    Because of your “scripture” I am able to move forward without feeling guilty for a sentence given to me for who I am. Thou shall not judge. I am content with weaknesses . Insults and hardships, persecutions and calmaties. For when I am weak , I am wrong.

    1. Glad to know that. Some of us are quite affected by what others says of us. Be encouraged with the Scripture verses you find here - keep them with you.