The term, “keeping a stiff upper lip” is difficult these days with the world-wide turmoil that is the norm. I attempt to cheer myself up with some of the platitudes and quotes I have amassed over the years but they don’t help much when we are rocked with a new catastrophe every day.
I was curious, nevertheless, where this term about a stiff upper lip emanated so I looked it up on the Internet. Whatever did we do without that service? So much easier than lifting a heavy tome like the encyclopedia from a bookshelf.
Stiff upper lip is attributed to the British in “remaining resolute and unemotional, not showing feelings when upset. Keeping one’s composure and being tough, repressing emotion through adversity.”
Just how do you keep a stiff upper lip stiff without doing the same to the lower one and why just the upper lip? Try it in front of a mirror and laugh at your silly facial contortions.
By trying to maintain a cheerful demeanor, no matter what happens around you, it’s sort of like self-hypnotizing yourself.
How we deal with what life forces us to bear is important. Viktor Frankl wrote in “Man’s search for meaning:
Everything can be taken away from a man, but one thing, the last human freedom: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances to choose one’s own way.”
When we are faced with hard times, tragedy, etc., it’s difficult to keep from letting it get us down. We have to adjust our attitude and deal with what life deals us.
The difficulties of life are intended to make us better not bitter.
When bad things happen to good people, I’ve heard people ask, how can God let that happen?
Remember Blaise Pascal, a religious thinker living in the 17th century? He did question the existence of God. According to my source, he figured what did he have to lose if he pretended to believe. “Since little can be lost if there is no God, and eternal happiness can be gained if there is one.”
Isn’t that self-hypnosis? If you believe you can do something long enough and hard enough, maybe you can actually do it.
Remember the lyrics in the Frank Sinatra hit. “High Hopes?” about the ant and the rubber tree plant? Anything is possible if you believe.
*From Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.