Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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Grace and Grit

It takes courage to stand up and face our fears. It is high praise to be labeled as responsible and independent. It is demeaning to be judged as irresponsible, therefore by inference, a loser.

Hero stories from history prove that by standing strong, you will ultimately triumph through Herculean feats of strength.

The stories usually skim over the times of confusion, doubt, despair, grief and self-loathing because those experiences take the punch out of the motivational message that through true grit, the world’s treasures are attainable for those who will grab the handle of courage.

Let’s back up and explore some not-so-obvious pitfalls inherent in this “I am invincible” stance. If it is good to be independent, it stands to reason that it is bad to be dependent. Total independence would require a fierce, aggressive approach to securing our fortress against any enemies that could usurp our invincible power. Dependence would require submissiveness and surrendering to circumstances outside of our control.

Dependence and submission, when held as negatives, become the doorway onto the slippery slide of passive victimhood. We are done in by life and we are pathetic. In those quiet, dark moments when our life is stuck; diminished through unforeseen circumstances, wrong choices and/or a kick from fate, we are thrown into frozen panic. We berate ourselves for being a loser/victim and feel humiliated, hopeless and helpless.

If we are honest, we have each been here at sometime in our lives.

We are either a victim or we are responsible. Passive or aggressive. Dependent or independent. We are a loser or a winner. These statements are only true when we live in a made-up, static, good or bad, right or wrong world of frozen polar opposites.

As we loosen our hold on our either/or thinking, new awarenesses can surface.

As children, we were dependent. We were sustained through no creation of our own. We received and we grew. Therefore independence cannot be the top of the mountain. It is part of the story, not the whole story.

Here is a well-kept secret that could change your life. Striving, fighting, wrestling life to the ground and extracting all that you can, locks you solidly into the other side of passive victim. You become an active victim. You take on the impossible, you never surrender, and you continually push the bolder up the hill. You become a human gerbil on the treadmill of life. You become a tragic victim of endless striving.

You become unable to relax, enjoy, love and be loved. You become a human doing on automatic pilot devoid of the spontaneity and wonder that was once a part of the child that is trapped inside of your invulnerable adult façade.

There is another way. Be willing to surrender and also be willing to stand up. Be dependent and be independent and then you can grow into the skill of interdependence. Learn what is right action and when to hold and when to fold.

Begin the internal journey in earnest. Instead of exclusively looking outside to see what you can get from the world, look inside to ask the deeper questions. Find what is exceptional about you and also know that what makes you exceptional is often what makes you lonely.
Own your pain and give up your long-suffering. Take up the quest for a new loveliness of a life of your own making that allows you to be nurtured and sustained by the gifts birthed from the marriage of Grace and Grit.

Susan is a local author of the emotional resource book “Beyond Intellect.” Feedback welcome at susanvelasquez.com.

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