We are born to disappointments. All of us meet them. Some are more sensitive to their point and bitter than others. We are often lofty in our wish, or sanguine in our expectation, that disappointments cannot but come. They come from foes and friends. They come in prosperity and adversity.
There are two sides to the events which occur and which seem so discouraging to us a dark side and a bright side. We are prone to look only on the dark side, to see only what is gloomy and discouraging. We find a melancholy satisfaction in being miserable, and in making ourselves more unhappy, as if we had been wronged, and as if there were a kind of virtue in dejection and gloom — in refusing, to be comforted. We keep chewing some bitter morsel and rolling it under our tongues so as to suck all the bitterness out of it that we can. Many of us are in great darkness, without knowing, or being able to discover the reason.
A bee has an eye, for I do not know how many facets, which multiply the one thing it looks at into an enormous number. Some of us have eyes made on that fashion, or rather we manufacture for our eyes spectacles on that plan, by which we look at our griefs or our depressing circumstances, and see them multiplied and nothing but them.
We are not merely burdened, we are possessed by a feverish uncertainty. We no longer look at things calmly and therefore truly, and everything appears to us in monstrous and distorted guise. There is no more fatal minister in human life than the disquieted eye. So long as the eye can gaze at things with a cool and quiet vision we see things in their true perspective and proportion. But when the eye is shaken into restlessness its focus is perverted, and everything is seen awry. The disquieted soul is not only possessed of a restless eye, it is the possessor of a nerveless hand.
Nothing is so bad as a continued and allowed downheartedness. The conviction that the circumstances around us are stronger than we can handle. There are times when life itself becomes burdensome and is often shortened, by excessive grief. It magnifies troubles. It drags at and prevents work. It shadows blessings, making the hard things in life prominent rather than the ameliorating things. By recognition of the fact that downheartedness is worst for us, we ought to esteem it as bad for us as malignant tumour and do all we can to cure it before it grows and becomes fatal.
Some people constantly depreciate themselves, and they are thought sincere and humble persons. The truth is it is nothing more than a habit, or worse, an affected self-depreciation. The feeling of self-depreciation pervades the soul in the presence or recollection of some higher examples in matters of life and ambition. An artist of sensitive appreciation of superiority in the presence of a genuine piece of art depreciates to the dust his own performances. A poet with a true poetic sense, when they read or hear some grand poetry, feel very low in their own view. So is it in other things in life.