Maintaining composure, and by extension, achieving a sense of peace can often be difficult in spite of my best efforts because of the persistent gnawing of those intent on using me to express their rage at the world. Their world is often so constrained in perspective, that my small contribution to it becomes its defining experience. A failed relationship or missed expectation is all it takes to consume some to the point of total obsession. And it seems there is no shortage of destructively obsessive souls these days.
One of the most persistent struggles of my life has been rooted in the requirement to dismiss the insistence of others that I am responsible for their woes without dismissing the reality of any rights they may have over me. It’s a difficult balance of trying to remain responsible and true to my convictions, while not finding understandable reason to simply walk away in search of peace.
I can see good reason why many abandon the rights of others, not because they have no inclination to fulfil it, but simply because those that have rights are often prone to demanding it more than they are to fulfilling the opposing responsibility that accompanies such rights. One of the most important things I’ve learnt about rights is that it is always paired with a responsibility on our part. So demanding rights, for example from the state, without being a responsible citizen in return, makes the sustainability of maintaining those rights untenable. There has to be a balance.
Balance, however, is usually absent in those that demand as opposed to those that offer. In other words, the demanders are the ones that operate from a position of expectation and entitlement, while those who offer are the ones that usually expect little in return. It’s no wonder then that the hand that gives is superior to the hand that receives (all debates about sincerity of intent aside).
My troubled peace is found in moments when I’ve made peace with what has gone before, accepted the accountability of the outcome and my contribution to it, but continue to be consistently harassed by demands to compensate in cash or kind on a scale that far outweighs the impact of the outcome or my contribution. I realise that this post is probably cryptic to the point of being meaningless, so to state it plainly, those that place demands on others are often malicious enough to only be satisfied if such demands are fulfilled with visible duress on the part of the giver failing which the sweetness of revenge remains unfulfilled.
The point I’m struggling to make is simply this. The smaller our world, the greater the impact of small actions by others, while the greater our world, the less impact the actions of individuals will have on it. This is most evident in those relationships where we make someone the purpose of our existence to the point where any disappointment becomes earth shattering. Consider this within the context of a failed relationship, and then consider the motivation that one has to exact revenge. It quickly becomes plainly clear how some sell their lives in favour of avenging a defeat that was their own making to begin with while blaming the ‘world’ for their sorry state.
It truly is a sorry state, because not only is it a wasted life on the part of the one that is riddled with hatred and revenge, but more importantly it wastes away the lives of those who are making a sincere effort to grow beyond their failings because the puny minded cannot bear to see others progress beyond their own limitations.
A troubled peace is found when only one party is focused on peace while the other is focused on getting even. A troubled peace is found when we indulge others out of goodwill, while assuming the best of their intentions, only to learn that their motivation was selfishly driven to begin with. A troubled peace, in the absence of others, is found when we’re at odds with ourselves. A troubled peace is what drives a restless soul to move forward, while it anchors a complacent soul in the past constantly waiting for the world to lift them out of their misery.