I used to think that the tendency to accept a challenge as soon as it is thrown our way, is the ability to be brave in the face of a ‘fight-or-flight’ situation. People who avoided confrontations, I assumed, were weak in some way. They were unable to imagine a world where love could exist despite vocal spats and outright disagreement. I supposed that they were hiding the way the felt and were too afraid of voicing their opinions because they expected retaliation, severance of relationship, or a thwart. Or that they felt limited in their abilities so as to form coherent arguments.
It took me a while, but eventually I became conscious of this behavior and thought pattern that I had internalized. Every argument had to be countered, every challenge had to be taken up and the challenger was to be proven wrong, my way or the high way – that is an exhausting disposition to take on. I had invested my energies in a relationship with the entire world, so much so that I avoided intimate relationships altogether, fearing what it might be like to have a single person draw you out all the time, while knowing your darkest fears, deepest secrets, and the insecurities that made you frail.
What a worldview I held onto! And I never realized the reason for my exhaustion until someone pointed out to me that there was a reason why there were certain traditional institutions in society, such as the family; why there were layers to associating with friends- your confidantes, friends, acquaintances; why people had intimate relationships, guarded their privacy, and were apprehensive with trust. These were people’s boundaries; it is how they maintained their sanity, and remained functional in a heavily populated, complex world that is constantly changing at a pace like never before. All of us as reacting profusely to each other, creating circumstances that are spiraling out into incomprehensible chaos when absorbed solely as a big picture. Presented that way, it might seem like it was a big, bad world with people hating on each other, instead of them battling and projecting out their own inner demons, as shunning change and enforcing barriers, when they are simply clinging onto what remains of their sense of identity!
I finally understood what it meant to pick your own battles, and what requires one to buy peace under certain circumstances. A new world view that was not normative, but realistic- could it be that I was wrong thus far?