It is my natural instinct to fight back and defend myself when someone threatens or assaults me with judgments and accusations.
My ego is ready for battle—sword in hand, shield up ready to lunge forth to protect my pride and character.
I want to prove their words are untrue, yet every time I’ve defended myself, I’ve ended up injured by the knife of my opponent’s negativity and toxicity. I am emotionally and mentally drained and depleted.
As a child, I was quiet and non-reactive.
Although I kept to myself, I was bullied on a regular basis, sometimes overtly, sometimes indirectly. I endured it. I never stood up for myself or fought back. I didn’t see the purpose. They outnumbered me and I didn’t have the energy to fight a battle I knew I’d lose.
I see now, I was the one who won after all. I would’ve lost by fighting back. I would have lost myself. When I react, I’m not fighting anyone else but myself. The other person really has nothing to do with it. They just unlock the gates to the arena, but I choose whether I walk into battle or not.
In reflection, I recognize the wisdom I carried as a child and abandoned for the impulsivity of my adolescence and adulthood.
By the time I got to college, I decided I’d had enough. I lifted the ban on arms and began defending myself. I became a nuclear reactor. I believed the illusion, that I’d won, even though every time, I’ve hobbled away from the match feeling battered and broken.
The past few years, I have chosen to expose myself and write publicly about the most intimate details of my life.
The benefits are rich and outweigh the negative, but there’s certainly a price to pay. I am valued only to be devalued by others, the moment they realize I am not the person they’ve imagined me to be. Some downright hate me and let me know it. Some question my motives and make harsh accusations.
A few of the comments I’ve received could bring even the most confident person to their knees.
I’ve written back trying to spar and I’ve been the one to suffer because of it.
Attempting to keep up with the flood of opinion and judgment is like trying to catch raindrops in my palms: impossible.
It is no wonder I feel exhausted when I fight back. I’m fighting a battle that’s not mine to fight, it’s theirs.
After all these years, I’ve finally given up… or maybe I haven’t given up at all.
I recognize the words directed toward another, whether nasty or nice, are the projected feelings and thoughts of the person delivering them, about themselves. I’ve done it over and over, the positive and the negative things I’ve said to and about others are founded on my securities and insecurities.
We are only capable of thinking and feeling of others what we think and feel of ourselves. If I love you, it’s because I love myself. If I hate you, it’s because I hate myself.
I’ve always had an issue with the nursery ditty, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
I’m highly sensitive and I’ve been wounded by words since I could understand what they meant. Words hurt, absolutely, because I’ve allowed them to hurt me.
Another’s words can only injure me if I decide to walk through the open gate they’ve unlocked and impale myself on their blade of judgment. If I don’t, they can’t affect or hurt me.
If I allow this understanding to armor me, I am fully protected. I don’t have a need or a desire to defend my honor because their words are not a threat.
Yet, somewhere along the way, I acquired the belief that the quickest way to peace was to fight for it.
It’s not. Surrender is. Silence is. That’s how I massacre the reactive negativity charging toward me.
Last month, the man himself, Waylon Lewis awakened my inner child. He reminded me of the value of inaction. He offered me the wisdom his teacher gave him,
“The only thing that defeats crazy is boredom.”
I have never felt more empowered than I do now. My non reaction– not fighting against the ‘crazy’ is naturally defeating it. It has no option but to retreat, because I refuse to stoke it in defense of something that needs no defending; the truth.
There is strength in silence. There is bravery in surrender. There is power in not reacting. I don’t give anything away and by doing so, I become stronger for it. I win.