In these turbulent and polarized times we live in we all get a sense that there are topics we should avoid because of the volatility associated with them.
Based on this feeling do you find yourself thinking; “How are we going to heal if we don’t talk about it?”, “Why do I spend so much energy walking on eggshells every day?”, or possibly worst of all; “I’ll just cut [him\her\them] off completely and go find a person, or group of people, that doesn’t talk about such divisive topics and thinks more like I do so we aren’t arguing all the time”.
When injured in battle and you try to avoid paying attention to a gaping wound, does it usually just go away or does it tend to fester, get infected, and likely end up needing to be amputated to avoid killing us completely?
Sorry for the graphic depiction but this is what we’re doing while we’re all trying to “play nice”. People are losing friends, family, and war is building in the background in many places. You tell me; does that sound like the current strategy is working?
You might be able to guess where I’m headed since this blog is about love and it seems to be my go-to solution. Well, you’d be half right.
For many of us lost in the egocentric, “here’s how my feelings were hurt”, “validate me by agreeing with me” culture we live in, it actually feels like avoiding conversation, based on what we know about people, is an act of love.
Have you ever heard the saying “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”?
When the ego masquerades as love it’s extremely difficult to talk about love without first unmasking this Scooby-Doo villain.
To see what I mean by this lets try a very brief self-awareness evaluation;
Take a second and think about avoiding a topic of conversation with someone you love.
Okay now, do you have just the thought of avoiding a topic, not a particular topic you tend to avoid, just the act of avoidance itself in mind?
Wait, are you finding it hard to separate the two? [Maybe this should be the first clue]
Did the feeling associated with even thinking about avoidance feel like love… or did it feel like fear (or even worse hate)?
That demonstration hopefully illustrates how much this idea is swirled together with a particular topic or a particular time in our lives. Often we’re not even sure why we’re arguing at this point.
There’s a very simple underlying root of these feelings but it can be something hard for us to admit to.
Now before anyone starts yelling “I’m not a judgmental person, how can you accuse me of condemning people?!”, ask yourself;
What is your motivation when you argue or even just defend your stance in a conversation?
Dig deep now; are you actually trying to listen intently to what the other person is saying… even if you’ve had the exact same conversation 10, 20, or 100 times?
It’s the latter piece that seems to expose the truth, our complete opposition to a desire to be patient. If you’ve ever felt what it feels like when someone is being patient with you, you KNOW love is patience personified.
Every interaction you have with people is a 50/50 exchange of energy and both parties cause the resulting feelings of hurt and anger.
Let me say it again a different way, No one is ever “at fault” for an argument.
Seeking blame exposes the lie that we aren’t judgmental. The lie is allowed to persist because it’s framed as each party being “in judgement” of the point of discussion not about the person the discussion is with.
However, our internal attachments are made manifest through our resisting of “negative” or clinging to “positive” , thus condemning those who identify with the former and seeking to fill our universe with only people who personify the latter.
If that isn’t judgmental, please speak up in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what is.
Only the times when someone says something that strikes a chord of our inner avoidance or denial that it manifests itself externally as seeking blame, fault, or our need to be right by demonstrating just how wrong others can be.
Thus, these “arenas” are where each person’s lack of self-love and self-acceptance is laid bear for the world to see. This is the real reason these interactions are being sited as the source and we see the other person as the external source of our struggle.
Is it becoming clearer now why the worst thing we can do is extricate ourselves from these circumstances or people (especially when they’re occurring with people we truly care for)?
So, where do we go from here?
You guessed it; LOVE…
However, this time it’s not simply about joining hands in a circle and singing Kumbaya.
It’s about realizing that loving your neighbor as yourself means you must learn to love yourself on high.
I promise you, the more you stop seeking absolution externally and start to cherish the parts inside that “shouldn’t be there” that a shift toward a more complete understanding will begin to arise.
Your internal conversation will start to sound more like this;
“My unwanted parts are there because I need them, for now, but eventually I’ll see the truth behind the fear.”
This is what is meant to transmute fear (or hate) into love and transmute suffering into compassion.
I’ll leave you with four more rhetorical questions (if you’re still with me after this Spanish Inquisition);
Why do support groups work?
Is it possible we feel the deepest love from people who have been through similar circumstances because they know what it’s like?
Isn’t that an example of love being known through fear by transmuting suffering into compassion?
Aren’t we all ready to join the “My ego won’t stop telling me how awful I am” support group?
Related Books for reference or help our not so friendly egos;
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
- The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt