Friday, 15 June 2018
The "Gold" Standard
My apologies for the delayed continued treatment of "Desiderata."
The next line reads:
"As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons."
Similar guidance comes via the bible - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
In the case of the Desiderata, there is the added provision: "without surrender." For me, what that is suggesting is that (I) or one, not abandon themselves in order to attempt to gain or maintain the good favour of someone else. ("To Thine Own Self, Be True....") Consider how powerful and impactful societal grooming has been through espousing the virtue in being self-sacrificing. Certainly that can become a problem if taken to extremes.
Personal experiences have taught me that while people I might encounter in my day to day life, may present as "disagreeable.." - it certainly doesn't serve to butt heads with these people; especially if I need to continue to work with them, or this person is on the other side of the counter, where I hope to then get "service." Defensive/offensive behaviour certainly will wreak havoc in personal relationships.
Of course in the case of someone that is an abusive presence, I don't surrender my safety/well-being, it's up to me to remove myself from these situations, whether it's a personal relationship, an employer etc. "Being on good terms," does not mean I'm willing to "take in on the chin."
The opening phrase begins: "As far as possible..." - this I would suggest is not necessarily a fixed way of being. It might look different from one day to the next (even toward the same person). All I can offer is my best (as determined by me). I don't do so with any intention to be taken advantage of; or, to be treated poorly. I can and will, utilize a fully functional "No."(when it is deemed necessary).
The other side of the coin is, that seldom (if ever) is my being disagreeable warranted (let alone effective). Truly I only hurt myself when I behave in a hurtful manner toward someone else.
Unquestionably when I have felt hurt and not had the where-with-all in the moment to take ownership of that, I have lashed out defensively and have been every bit as offensive as my perceived perpetrator. Those "good terms" need to exist within and toward myself as well. Consider what would there be to "defend".. if I believed there was, nothing to defend?
So I'm advocating for myself, some sort of middle ground. I neither wish to be a door-mat, nor do I wish to be a reactionary, retaliatory perpetrator either.
I can certainly be kept busy monitoring, "my own eye for a sliver, rather than pointing out the log in someone else's."
Some continued focus on developing some humility, self-empathy and compassion can go a long way toward how I relate to others.
I am practicing a respect and valuing, of my own inner peace. In doing so, the importance of this inner state of being, can be preserved by not being so quick, to "surrender" it, when faced with conflict. So then, how can I be true to myself; while preserving my inner peace, at the same time not giving in "just to keep the peace - which ultimately leaves me in a state of turmoil.
Again, "all persons" - includes my (one's own) self.
R.O'Neill (June 15, 2018)