Let it

Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”
Harvey MacKay

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Keeping Things Human

Think about the people in your life. Think of any you may feel anger or frustration toward. Now ask yourself honestly, are you seeing them as a person? As someone with reasons, personal experiences, and individual perspective behind their actions? Or are you seeing them as an object- something in your way, to be moved, manipulated, bent to your will or else be tossed from your life?
About 5 years ago my dad gifted every member of our family with a paperback copy of The Anatomy of Peace. Our family was not what you would call cohesive at the time. We were hardly even communicative. I personally harbored a lot of resentment toward my parents and siblings. I dreaded every family event and came home feeling judged and angry. I'll admit that it took me more than a year to even crack the cover of the Christmas gift that I had inwardly rolled my eyes at and set aside. I'm still not sure what prompted me to finally read it. When I finally did open that cover, there was a note glued into the binding. It was from my daddy- a note of apology and love. I dove into reading. Thus began a new phase of personal evolution, as I digested such a simple concept that is so meaningful and began to apply it in my own life.
...when our hearts are at war, we can't see clearly. We give ourselves the best opportunity to make clear-minded decisions only to the extent that our hearts are at peace.
This simple shift in perspective changed me. Peace, which seemed so longed for and ironically hard-fought, became a constant and reliable backdrop to my thoughts and emotions. I won't claim to be perfect about it. I have to pause and question my perspective sometimes- when I feel that negative energy- those sapping, pride-fueled emotions that consume me and if allowed to fester, leave me feeling wrung lifeless and burnt. I have to remind myself that offense only exists if it is taken, that my own perspective is not the only one involved, and that I must respect the intelligence and divine nature of those around me. It does not matter if I don't understand their perspective- they feel it, they live it, and that is what I have to work with. A confrontational argument convinces no one of change or fault. It only damages trust and causes pain and anger. People don't change until they decide to- out of love, out of need or out of clear-thinking logic. These elements aren't apparent in the presence of anger. We must encourage change- in ourselves and others- from a place of peace and love.

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