When the heart is right, “for” and “against” are forgotten. – Zhuangzi
For many years, I have had to struggle against my tendencies to defensiveness and anxiety. I suffered from multiple calamities as a young adult. To compensate, whenever overly stressed out, I would coil back into my hard emotional shell as a form of self-protection. The negative efforts brought only more strife until it seemed an insurmountable mountain had grown inside me. My heart felt as if was being suffocated. Although I am occasionally defensive the level of negativity is much less. What brought about the change?
There were many positive changes in my life involving love, but before that, I had to come to the realization that holding fast to opinions and fighting against the opinions of others was a trap. Yes, personal belief is critical to identity, but being accepting of other’s opinions is liberating. Discussions and debates validate both sides, as long as the issues are not abhorrent. As is often said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. This understanding increased my willingness to be more accepting. My heart began to heal and with it my life changed for the better.
By affirming the essential nature of my place in the world was not as a warrior, but as a guide, I became more effective. The everyday became intriguing and life took on a deeper meaning. My once churning heart calmed. This is not to say I am walking around in a state of bliss by any means. But I delight more in the little things and deflect more of the irritations. Storms come and go, but tranquility returns eventually.
Social interaction and disagreements are part and parcel to life in the modern world. No matter what, do your best to bring your heart back to a state of serenity before you sleep. Slip into sleep with a smile on your face. When you wake, do not think first of the strife ahead, but, as best you can, center your self around peaceful acceptance of what the day may hold. Take care.