For as long as I remember, I have been this person judged and admonished for being rude and arrogant. I have been direct in my communication to the point of aggressiveness. I suppose I lived all of my childhood with such deceit and farce of a “happy family and childhood” while hiding behind it being such a complete two-faced lie that my life was, I became extremely direct and truthful in my communication. There was no filter between how I felt and what I said, I didn’t care how my words affected the person in front of me. In my view if they couldn’t swallow the bitter pill of truth I shoved at them, it was their problem. After all, my life was about swallowing the bitter pill of life everyday.
Further, the lack of emotionally healthy people who had time or capacity to teach me emotional self-regulation and communication made it worse. I was little and picked on by many, the only defence were my sharp words and there was no way I was going to let go of them. I had a habit of launching physical assault in a fashion befitting my little-ness – I would just quickly hit the bigger family member of my generation with both my hands before they could grab both my wrists with one hand and immobilise me and render me completely helpless. This stopped one day when my aunt complained vehemently about this behaviour to my mother. From what I recall, she shamed my mother and scolded her for being incapable of “controlling” my bad behaviour.
My mother in her fiery temper tied my hands with a rope while scolding me and slapping me, askingme if I would ever do it again. After that day I was rendered completely defenceless and helpless. I developed an even more fiery anger and deep resentment and powerlessness over my ability to look out for myself.
Anyhow, I digress. This was why words came in handy until I ended up in a job I really liked and found out that everyone disliked my guts and arrogance. That people could not deal with my aggressive attitude and arrogance.
As I was reading this post on the difference between rescuing and supporting this morning, I began to reflect on my journey to learning this valuable distinction.
When I first I got exposed to this concept, I took it to an extreme interpretation. I took it to mean that I must look after myself before I do anything for others. Or by helping them in a way they haven’t asked for, I’m rescuing them and taking away their opportunity to grow while spreading myself too thin.
Through my Buddhist practice embedded with life challenges over the last few years, I’ve learnt that this learning is a lifelong journey of the eternal truth of life. It is about how I always learn to find the “Middle Way”.
Much too tired to write for the last couple of days. But I wanted to share this from my study today:
My life hinging on every word.
Update an hour later-
I found myself at unease and unrest after doing this study. Almost as though reading this made me weak just as I read it.
An hour later I could step away from it and realise how it was devilish functions at work again. My negative voice telling me that “oh you’re never going to be strong. You are never going to win. You’re so weak, unhappy and such a failure.”
It’s amazing how Nichiren reminds us again and again how devilish functions will come in confusing forms, sometimes subtly and sometimes with force. You have to have strong life force and high life state to recognize them for what they are.
I’m glad I could see it and now I can use my faith to walk past my negativity and show it the door.
Also realised how my uncle has endured a deep struggle throughout his life. It would break most. In his case it turned to anger but I’m kind of intrigued and inspired that it didn’t apparently manifest as self deprecation. And how he could continue to love and respect many when his own life would have been so testing.
Strength doesn’t have only one form. It isn’t binary. It is not a river you cross and reach the other side. It is a constant battle with varying demons. Even if you win over some of them, you are strong. Each win is the springboard for the next. Keep adding to your strength my lovelies!