“Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field – I’ll meet you there.” ~ Rumi
a spot, doesn’t it? It suggests
that not being right (or wrong) is a place we can choose to go to,” wrote Sarah
Wilson after reading Laura Munson’s book on how she chose not to retreat or
retaliate when her husband said he was leaving. Instead Laura chose to be calm,
still – and yes, sometimes quite scared.
partner said that to you, chances are that would be the start of a conversation
--- an ugly one,” wrote one of my favorite reviewers, Jesse Kornbluth.
Instead she said, “I don’t buy
Her story was the most forwarded, shared and debated Style column in The New York Times all year.
“I was faced with a choice, wrote Laura, “I was going to let this take me down, or I was going to learn to base my happiness on something that was within my control.”
Adds Sara, “That it just exists, once we drop knee-jerk judgment, and is entirely accessible. If. We. Just. Choose. It.”
This is not an instinctive nor an easy approach yet it is worth practicing. That is to choose not to suffer or to retaliate against someone dear to me right after he says something toxic - or doesn’t speak up or act in a situation where I relied on his support – or at least their understanding. Good men know this.
My reacting harshly out of hurt usually stiffens the spine of the other person in their righteousness. They respond defensively and feel greater justification for their actions. This hardens our hearts towards each other, making it increasingly difficult for either “side.” By then we do see sides in the situation, so we move farther apart. Through that lens of protective distance we are more inclined to see how the other person is wrong and we are right.
One hard-learned truth I tend to forget:
Choosing to respond to the decent actions in others and to let the rest go seems to be the most likely way to stay connected to the better parts in each other. Live strong is not only an apt motto for Lance Armstrong but a wise maxim for us all to accept frailties in others and to live from our strengths.
Another rule of thumb:
Do not let somebody else determine your behavior.