“A power struggle collapses when you withdraw your energy from it. Power struggles become uninteresting to you when you change your intention from winning to learning about yourself.” – Gary Zukav
Nothing pisses off a practicing Buddhist more than when her husband calls out, “that’s not very Zen of you!” It can be so hard to navigate people who know exactly what to say to trigger you. These can be relationships with our significant others, parents, children, best friends, etc. Working in the mental health field, I have experienced countless positions where a patient will say whatever is on his or her mind about what they think of me. Many times my jaw has hung open as I felt the sting of their comment. I spent one summer working with behaviorally challenged youth who seemed magically equipped to find my greatest insecurity and call me out about it.
Defending yourself appears powerful but can become an unhealthy pattern of defensiveness.
The people we admire the most in history always seemed to keep their cool when presented with opportunities to show anger. Let’s take a closer look. In 1959, it was the middle of the night, when the Dalai Lama fled China to India. He has been living in exile ever since. However, to this day, the Dalai Lama continues to recommend compassion, open-dialogue and remains optimistic that relations with China will improve. Other heroes include Mahatma Gandhi who practiced nonviolence during the India Freedom Struggle. Gandhi explained that nonviolence is not a weakness, but instead a positive act of self-love.
In our current cultural atmosphere, we can see how easy it is to be baited by online trolls, the biggest one being our President. Whether you are baited on social media or in person how do we rise above and why is it important to do so?
First and foremost, we rise above because we are focused on harnessing our internal power.
Imagine, the person who is cool, calm and collected during a fight. How the heck do you argue with someone like that? They are responding and not reacting – because their self-worth isn’t tied up in making a convincing argument. They stand in their Power and Truth wholeheartedly. This person didn’t get there overnight. Instead, they fought, scrapped, and claimed that position through the ultimate fearless act: practicing vulnerability over and over again.
Vulnerability it the gateway emotion to true freedom, worthiness, and authentic power. It is the emotion that our Baby Ego desperately tries to avoid. The Baby Ego uses anger, manipulation, control, intimidation, and defense so that the soul never has to embody vulnerability.
Vulnerability is like a metamorphosis of the soul.
The moments I have ventured to enter this emotion my body has shaken, my chest burned, my voice quivered, my heart raced and yet…I survived. So maybe the Baby Ego isn’t as necessary as it wants me to believe?
When you intentionally resist the urge to clap back you are building a new muscle, creating a new habit, and cultivating a new pattern of Being. You are reminding your soul that your power is not negotiable, that instead, it is inherent and innate. When your feelings have been hurt – lick your own wounds. Ask yourself, what is the next best thing to do? For me it can be going to the gym, spending time with my pups, talking it over, or putting myself to bed. I know I can take care of myself through the act of self-love. I don’t need to defend who I am – and neither do you.