Safe to say that I have lost. Safe to say that I have given myself to battles that were unworthy of my time. And yet, safe to say that I entangled myself in the unsuccessful battles of emotional warfare.
Come to think of it . . .
I used to say that I never pay attention when an enemy growls. That’s what they do. It’s when they smile at you; that’s when you might want to pay attention. I say this because if they’re smiling at you, then you might know that something’s coming your way.
I can see this as a matter of hindsight, which is always 20/20.
I can see an example of this before a meeting took place where I recognized a dilemma. I could see that this was sabotaged by someone. Rather than accept the field of play, I leaned inwards and fought back – but was it worth it?
The answer is no.
I used to buy into the ideas of rejection. Then again, I used to buy into the ideas of people pleasing. I’d try to sway votes. I’d try to get people to like me. I’d try to get people “on my side,” if you will.
it didn’t matter who I liked but to me, it was more important that people liked me. Even if I didn’t like them or even if I didn’t want them in my life, there was either an idea or a fear that somehow, they would calculate or plot against me just so they could advance over me.
Yes, as I admit this to you, I am sure this sounds a bit ‘much’ or harsh.
But sometimes, the truth is harsh.
In some cases though, there will be people we come across in our life who might hold valuable positions. This could be a family member. This could be a lover. This could be a parent or child or a friend so close yet an altercation took place. This could be anyone who was someone in your life and now, they’re no one. Now, the two have become so distant that even if they were standing right next to you – it’s like the two of you are on opposite sides of the world.
There’s a saying which goes, “when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
I think about this.
People do this. It’s part of a big game that goes on all around town.
I think about life’s debates.
I think about the ideas of winning or losing and then I have come to this: There is no winning when it comes to fighting.
There is no losing. There is only the aftermath which can either be favorable or unfavorable. However, both sides of a battle incur both of these parts. No one gets away without a scratch.
There have been people in my life who I have tried to mend the broken pieces of our relationship. There are people who I tried to amend the errors of my past. I have tried to apologize. I have tried to show the error of my ways; and I have done this to a fault at times because the loss in my heart was too achy for me to bear.
I have had no choice but to learn about the rules of acceptance. Even when the options are unattractive or sad, there are unchangeable facts of our life that can never be fixed or controlled.
I understand this now.
I have seen parents alienated who worked their entire lives just to have their child reach out and speak with them.
But to what avail?
I have seen people who worked so hard and sought through any means to have their parents notice them and I mean truly notice them, just to be proud, just once, or just for a minute.
But to what avail?
This includes me too because I have lost years – no, I have lost decades of my life while trying to regain contacts and relationships that were no longer available to me.
I have lost friends and family. I have said and done things that have helped perpetuate this loss. However, the fact remains that anything out of my control is strictly out of my control.
I cannot control whether people like me or choose me. I cannot fix the irreparable damages that exist nor is it my place to solve the equations that calculate in someone else’s mind.
When it comes to fixing the unfixable or changing the unchangeable, the more I try, the more I lose myself to a wasted energy that could be better spent somewhere else.
I have lost hours of sleep while thinking too much. I have wasted hours of daylight thinking too much. I have lost good opportunities to enjoy the momen; but I couldn’t because my head was someplace else.
I can say this as a Dad.
I can say this as a man of divorce. I can say that our resentments have a way of blocking our best experiences because this is something that invokes our ego. In turn, our thoughts turn inwards and against us.
Our best levels of thinking become degraded because the ideas of being right or valid become more important than our rights or needs to be happy.
I have seen where my pride gets in the way. I have seen what happens when I fail to clean up my side of the street. What I mean is I have seen when I was lost to the finger-pointing arguments and how this lingered in my head. I can see where my pride took over because the argument was too important to win. So, I lost to the casualties of my collateral damage.
But dig –
I understand that there are people who will never learn to play fairly. There are people who will look to hit below the belt, right away, and they’ll look to hit you before the fair fight begins.
They do this to be unfair, which is life too – unfair as ever, unfortunate at times, unlikable, and in so many cases; this is life – when its unwinnable.
I never thought much about the meaning behind the idea: Surrender to win.
I never thought much about the art of letting go nor did I ever recognize that it was me who held the fight for too long. In spite of the surrounding unkindness or regardless of the low-blow intentions or the emotional warfare, I never recognized my part in the fight.
I never saw that by surrendering to the truth and accepting the unchangeable aspects of my environment, I could actually set myself free from so much misery.
I used to think that I had to fight back; that no serve could ever go unanswered; that I had to return fire otherwise I would be seen as a mark or an easy target and that somehow people would bully me or worse, the recollection of a thought, an incident, or a misspoken or misinterpreted word would bully me alive from the inside out.
“How dare they talk to me like that!”
“Who the hell do they think they’re talking to?”
I used to take all sorts of shit and let this bury me.
Yet, these were people who were only fixtures in my life with a station in my existence that I offered too much importance. I tried so hard for their measures of acceptance and to what avail? I could have surrendered to win. I could have accepted the grounds that they’re meant to be them and I’m meant to be me; and together, never the twain shall meet.
I could have let this be. I could have chosen to walk away or listen with deaf ears instead of personalizing this so deeply.
I can think of countless times where something was said and I mean something insensitive or awful. I can think of times when something was insulting and I said nothing – but I wished I did.
I can think of how this boiled into my levels of thinking.
I can see how the wiring from these incidents led me to string one thought to another and the next thing, it was me by myself, rehearsing what I should have said when I was in the middle of everything.
There are so many times when I wished I could have simply said: I don’t like the way you’re speaking to me. There are times when I didn’t like the way I was treated. There are times when I did respond. There are times when I poked the bear (more than once) and all this did was make matters worse. Then what? Well, I perpetuated the worst part of this and, again, I solidified the fact that never the twain shall meet.
I go back to that idea of “surrender to win.”
I go back to the ideas of our relationships or business relationships that didn’t work out to our best advantage.
I can think of friendships in my life that left me uncomfortable; only to later realize that these were not friendships at all. These connections with other people were only meaningful lessons of temporary measures.
Take what you can and learn when the times come your way.
Stop looking to change people.
Stop looking to recreate or change facts. None of this is helpful.
Stop recalculating old data because with this only comes the outlet of loss.
It’s not about win or lose anymore.
It’s not about pride or ego.
No, the hour is late and time is running out.
If I were to try and regain another minute of someone or something that either does not want me in return or does not care to reciprocate; then all I will have done is waste another valuable moment on another unwinnable action.
So, what’s winnable? This, this is winnable.
This is the idea that battling it out and fighting for validation does nothing but leave me in the trenches of emotional warfare. Remember, there are no winners here – there’s only someone who didn’t lose as much.
I’ve lost enough time. I’ve lost enough blood. I’ll never punch another wall again because I’ve already done that.
I put my fist through a wall for the last time when my Father was ill. Someone asked me, “Who are you trying to intimidate?”
They told me, “Your Father is still sick. Now we have to patch the wall and you almost broke your hand.”
Essentially, I was told “it’s time to grow up now.”
There’s no time for baby games or to act like some punk kid who thinks intimidation can change the parameters of real life.
I used to wonder about happy people.
I used to see people who could process their surroundings, which didn’t mean they didn’t feel pain or sadness; but somehow, they were able to function.
I used to see people laugh or shrug their shoulders and smile things off as if nothing so hurtful was even said.
“That’s on them,” was told to me once.
I wondered what it was like to be that way – to unemotionally address an interpersonal challenge and be equally as free.
Surrender to win does not mean we won’t fight what’s worth fighting for. All this means is that we’re not going to waste our breath on battling the unchangeable or the uncontrollable.
What this really means is we are going to place our energy where it counts.
I can’t change my yesterday. In some cases, I can’t take back what I’ve said or what happened when things were said to me. I can’t change opinions or people, places and things. However, what I can do is change the way I direct my emotions.
I can focus my energy on better spent methods of learning how to navigate through life by the ways of a peaceful warrior – because yes, there are things worth fighting for. There are hardships that are worth the battle and working through them.
There are times when we have to draw a line in the sand. But be mindful: The hardest battles to win are the battles in our mind. These are the ones with invisible enemies in the emotional minefields that explode after the arguments take place.
Surrender to win means this:
Get out of the argument and get your head back into your life.
Trust me on this one and consider the alternative.
As I see it (right now) the rest of your life is up to you . . .