Nations fight wars over religion, political interests, money, countless agendas, but the fighting I am speaking about is the fighting we engage in with each other on a very personal level – with friends and lovers merely to “get our point across” or to “show who’s right”.
I believe that this is the most detrimental, harmful, and hurtful fighting that exists. The main reason I believe this is because it is so MINDFUL. Think about what I just said for a moment – it’s absolutely MINDFUL. We really “know” our “enemy” in these personal fights with our loved ones. We know about that time when they were embarrassed about something and asked us to never mention it again. We know about all of their idiosyncrasies that no one else does – all of the things that make them insecure and make them feel alone. We use this information (information they have willingly volunteered to us out of trust and love) – we us this information as heart-piercing ammunition to hurt them. Why do we do this? If we take a step back and look at it pragmatically, we do this to bolster ourselves, our self-image, our perceived status above others. We do this to tamponade our insecurities, make us feel better about ourselves, and it’s really a sad notion.
This type of behavior is evident in almost every schoolyard in America. Children bully each other and fight for social status, trying to establish where they fit in – and I get that. I grew up in Brooklyn and went to public school from kindergarten through 8th grade, which was an overpopulated mess and more akin to a jailhouse than an institution of learning. I remember the terrible things that happened in the schoolyard when we were young and trying to figure out our place in the pecking order. The thing is, a lot of us retain that mentality throughout life and carry it with us into relationships as we get older. A lot of us still don’t know where we fit in, age notwithstanding. We’re all growing up, all figuring this whole thing out as we go along (I sure am – I’m doing my best).
The worst part about this behavior adolescents exhibit in the schoolyard is that it is going on in their homes. It’s going on between their parents or in a lot of cases, between the children and their parent(s). I don’t think I have to make a parallel here – I once heard that “children don’t always listen to their parents, but they ALWAYS IMITATE them,” which goes right back to leading by example and acting with patience, love, empathy, and compasion.
I used to do a lot of fighting – in every sense – from the streets, to the locker room, to combat, to business, but again – the worst fighting (and I’m still working on it) is fighting with those I love in my personal life. I’m actively trying to stop fighting over ridiculous disagreements, which are almost all caused by miscommunications or flat out poor communication. I recently had an argument with someone I love deeply. That night, after our petty argument, I sat up for hours thinking about why the heck we were fighting…
I finally thought to myself:
“If I knew that this person I loved and was arguing with was going to die tomorrow; would I have approached the ‘fight’ with such conviction, saying hurtful things, stopping at nothing to ‘win’?”
The answer I quickly arrived at: “Absolutely not.”
We’re all dying tomorrow. Tomorrow might be something that’s quantifiable by units, but let’s face it – tomorrow is coming, death is coming, so what the hell are we wasting time fighting over petty things for when we have such a finite, beautiful existence here together?
I tried to think of exactly what I would do if I were with someone I love and knew they were going to die the next day… think about that – the solemn sadness… holding each other, cherishing every second – now think about why? Love – our love – that’s it – because we love them.
This is another thing I am working extremely hard on paying close, conscious attention to – When I feel a petty disagreement with someone close to me start to turn into an argument, and then a “fight” where daggers start to be thrown – I calm down and I tell them how much I love them – I try and actually talk things through. This is something I would have never done years ago. If they truly love me and I truly love them, we should both understand what the right thing to do is. And that is to spend our limited time on this earth cherishing each other and not fighting.
Love & Peas,