Chapter 145 Be the “Bigger Person” and Say Sorry First

Much of your inner mind’s life is the nagging question, “Who was right in the last argument you had with someone?”  There will be endless confrontations.  Minor and major ones.  But one thing will stay consistent.  Your sense of peace and calmness will be always interrupted, at least momentarily, but your confrontations.  Most of what you feel will be petty disagreements.  Be the first to lay down your arms and apologize to the other party, even if you still feel you were the party in the right.  In doing so, you disarm the other party in your life.  Your ego is the persistent factor that is causing you to feel unease.  The minor tensions in your life will continue to build, and you will slowly grow more and more unhappy as a result. 

Those minor conflicts stay in your unconscious mind.  You may, if you write down your dreams, and providing you get enough sleep per night, find that past arguments you may have had with others around you will continue to nag at you, until you may seek out unhealthy releases like alcohol or drugs or worthless television shows to dull your present moments.  The more you try to “defend” yourself and your stance, the more the other party will push, and both of you will feel the ensuing tension and unease as the argument escalates. 

For example, in my own life, I once had an argument with a friend about my bothering one of his children.  He yelled at me in front of my parents and other relatives which resulted in my feeling insulted.  I harbored that initially and I avoided him at friends’ gatherings and places where I would run into him.  But what did that accomplish?  I then came to my senses and yielded and faced him with open arms and gave him a hug.  Both of us were instantly disarmed and a big cloud in my unconscious mind left forever. 

So be the first to yield.  Don’t let petty dramas and petty arguments ruin your day and your peace of mind.  Of course, if an interaction with a certain person in your life is constantly toxic, then it may make sense to remove that relationship in your life.  But if the person is someone that you will be obliged to run into, like a close business associate or a family member, just let go of your ego, try to see why the other party was upset in the first place, and be the first to say, “I’m sorry.”  Don’t worry about whether you were ultimately right or wrong.  Choose peace over being right in every situation.  So what if they felt they won the argument.  Ultimately, it does not matter.  The only thing that matters is your peace of mind.

If you took out the trash last and your brother insists it is your turn still, even if you know it is his turn, just yield and take out the trash again.  Doing so will relieve such a tension in your own mind.  The energy you expend trying to prove to your ego that you are in the right and the other party is in the wrong is far greater than the energy it takes just to yield first to the other party.  Even if it results in your taking out the trash every single time, just do the task.  It is not worth any confrontation.

Besides, the other party may have a valid point in the argument too.  There are always two sides to every story, and try to see their side as well.  Maybe they are doing a task they think is your duty or they may think you are not pulling your own weight.  Don’t let your ego which is always your enemy and shadow, to get in the way of your inner peace, which is priceless.  What is really the point of defending your ego anyhow?  What is the longer term benefit? 

In the example I gave, I could have chosen ego over equanimity, and avoided my friend and all the gatherings for good.  And how could that have served me?  All that would accomplish is making me more unhappy because then I could not see my other friends, and making me feel and harbor discomfort and unhappiness if ever I ran into him.  Really it makes no difference in most cases in your life.  All you will succeed in doing if you insist on your stance is raise your blood pressure, your headaches, and make you age prematurely, disturb your sleep, and give yourself a heart attack at an earlier age.  Let go.  Let go of all your conflicts and apologize to the other party.  It is easy to do if you release your ego.

This does not mean being a “pushover” or classic “doormat”.  It does not mean that you have to lower yourself before the other person.  If say you are in a  restaurant and your food is cold, you need not get into an argument with someone at the restaurant.  You don’t have to be “offended”.  Just ask politely if they could heat the food up or make another which suits you.  If they insist that the food is warm enough, just yield, say thank you, and either choose to eat the food or choose another restaurant in the future.  Don’t turn all red and start some fight which may end up in someone spitting in your food or ruin someone else’s day.  If you sit back and meditate on it, you will agree that in most all cases, it is better to yield.  If you just stick to the facts and say “Oh, I’m sorry, but I feel the food is cold”, it is so much better than showing “offense”, and taking it personally, and shouting at the waiter, “How dare you serve me cold food!”.  The latter response will only bring up the “sorrowful soul” in you both. 


About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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