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Playing the 'Hostile' Card. Monday October 14, 2013

Here's the fifth in the series of excellent blogs by Lex covering the adjectives on the 20 Moodscope cards. Please don't forget we'd love you to add any ideas, tips, insights or advice you may have that you'd like to share with other Moodscope members that might be of help. Please add them to the comments at the end of this post. Many thanks. Caroline.

Today, it's the turn of the 'Hostile' card, which Moodscope defines as, 'feeling unfriendly towards others.'

The root of the word is strongly associated with Latin and Middle French for 'belonging to an enemy'... however it is also related to 'guest' in its original meaning of 'guest; enemy; stranger'. Perhaps this root can help us. There is a natural, even sensible fear of 'strangers' and that which is 'strange'. This fear puts us on our guard, and thus we appear and often are 'unfriendly'.

When life is tough, we can sometimes begrudge others their apparent happiness. They are 'outside' our circle of experience. When others are joyful and we are sad, it seems so unfair. All too easily, this can begin the slide down into the unfriendly territory of hostility. We can snap at them, and treat them as a 'hostile'! Clearly, most people in peace-time are not hostiles. Perhaps then we can turn our own hostility on hostility itself. If 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' we could see fear or jealousy or bitterness or disappointment as the real (root) enemy, and transform our opinion of others and their good fortune. It can even come down to something as simple as assuming the best intention behind the behaviour of others - the so called, 'benefit of the doubt'.

With a little bit of emotional alchemy, we can usually find something fascinating or charming about others. It is then a matter of fighting hostility on two fronts – appreciating our new 'friends' so that we become outwardly more friendly, and turning the strength of our own hostility on hostility itself.

In my experience, emotions often follow behaviours. If we behave in a friendly manner towards 'strangers', any sense of hostility towards them diminishes, and the victory over hostility is assured. By welcoming others to join us 'inside' our circle, we can often be delighted by the gifts they may well bring with them: laughter, joy, insight, kindness, and friendship.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Jeremy Thomas Trying to Stay Sane in an Insane World Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 7:53am

This is is the first time I have heard the word 'hostile' being used in the context of low mood or depression. That sounds ridiculous, bearing in mind the whole anger aspect. But for me today it was most apposite.. The fake it to make it principle is also good but does not always work in hostility moments! Squash court, punch bag or a railway tunnel to shout in are often better.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 9:24am

I found this piece very hard to follow.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 9:36am

I find "hostile" often to be a really good indication for me that I am heading downhill. If I feel hostile towards all my friends, (and recognize it) then I can take stock and change my perspective. It can take me a couple of days though to recognise it sometimes...

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 10:29am

I avoid letting people in to protect them from me! I would love to share in the gifts they have to offer, but l have nothing to offer them that would brighten their lives.

The Entertrainer Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 11:30am

It's a shame I can't respond more directly folks - if you found this one hard to follow, I appreciate you trying. Put directly, a hostile response may be aimed at the wrong target. If we're feeling "Not OK" - it's all too easy to let that leak into our relationships with others - both strangers and friends. I'm saying, let them in - they might do us good, but I had to smile at the keen observation above, "I avoid letting people in to protect them from me!" I get that too!

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 12:16pm

This is the card I have always had the most problem with. The situation that has me very depressed right now is being the victim of bullying at work. I think he has gotten away with this because I am so naturally friendly (I think that in itself bothers him). So I'm not feeling unfriendly with anyone other than the major bully and the crew he has gathered around him to bully me. I think I should have NOT given him the benefit of the doubt as long as I did, as is my natural tendency with everyone.

Julia Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 1:36pm

I can identify with this. I think you should score 3 (the highest) for the hostile card. Why shouldn't you feel hostility towards this bully and his saddo bullying cohorts at work? I feel like scoring high on hostile when I do the cards later (on your behalf). I feel hostile towards your boss. It depends on whether I feel hostile towards someone on the day, what score I rate hostile. Some days I feel no hostility toward anyone;other days I might feel hostile towards someone. I don't see myself as a hostile person though. So my score does fluctuate with the hostile card. I think it's quite an easy card to do. I know instantly how to score.
I think Anonymous, you have every right to feel hostile to your boss. In my experience, bullies aways go for people whom they think are weaker than them and by that of course we know that means the nice friendly types like yourself. How boring these bullies are. I hate them

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 2:19pm

Today's writing really hit home with me. I carry a lot of hostility inside me even though people consider me very friendly and a "people-person" which I actually am. The problem with me is I am insecure enough that if a person/stranger doesn't treat me with the same accord I treat them, I turn hostile. I am trying to learn to look at myself in both an loving and honest way and this is one of the areas in my life I really need to work on.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 5:15pm

Sounds like my beloved grandmother trying to talk to me about getting mad at childhood friends, I could almost hear her saying "you can almost always find something good in others", etc. Plus I like the reference to word origin. Teachers used to do that and my nieces and nephews are confused when I do it. I don't think it's pretentious I think it's an aid to understanding our language and our human lives. If words can hurt, they can also have specific meaning to enhance our life experience.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 5:22pm

I so identify with your post AND the Jack Kerouac quote "I have nothing to ffer anyone except my own confusion." When I told my therapist this he was sad for me, and I am sad for you to read your comment. But of course, I am so often in that frame of mind. I also noticed about myself that I'm angry at not having friends or people not understanding me, but I am so protective I never let people know anything about me that could possibly connect with. Others can love us, if we don't let them know us. I definitely don't want to diminish what you are saying and feeling, but I hope you feel better. My advice to both of us is to practice noticing and appreciating, even if it sometimes it feels "fake", our blessings, gifts and talents.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 5:24pm

sorry about the various typos, the most confusing should have been "Others can'T love us, if we don't let them know us."

Anonymous Thu, Oct 17th 2013 @ 3:09pm

May be too late to reply to this, but l think your typo error was interesting. I feel you were right with they can love us, if we don't let them know us. They can't love me when they know me!!!!

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