CATCHING ANIMOSITIES

Speaking of animosities did you ever stop to think how many of your animosities you inherit or borrow or catch? Not just the way you catch measles or a cold but by the mental contagion, the way you catch an affectation of speech or a slang expression.

A woman just passed by the house and I looked at her with that vague feeling of antagonism that her presence always arouses. Then I noticed how pleasantly she was smiling to someone across the street. I heard her speak and thought how attractive her voice was, and all at once I found myself looking at her with new eyes, seeing how pleasant she looked and wondering why on earth I disliked her, since after all I scarcely knew her.

Catching AnimositiesI Had Been Infected with the Dislike Germ

And then X remembered that a friend who dislikes her had infected me with her dislike. And I was ashamed of myself. First hand dislikes with some reason to them are bad enough, but second hand dislikes are terribly shabby unattractive things to have about one’s house of life.

Disliking People He Didn’t Even Know

A man who came to live in the town where his wife had been brought up told me that he found himself with a lot of queer little animosities on his mind and that he was really quite shocked at himself when he found that he had permitted his wife to form his opinion of people he didn’t really know at all. He made up his mind to throw these foolish little animosities out and start all over again.

by Ruth Cameron, 1917

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