Our feelings about others are a reflection of our inner world more than they are an objective statement about the other person’s character.
If we allow our negative feelings about another person to sit with us unresolved for too long, they will grow and consume us. Like a splinter under the skin, what begins as a minor irritation, if left unaddressed, slowly becomes infected. If not removed and treated, that infection begins to spread until we become sick from it and, like an infection, negativity can kill us.
At first, we may simply be annoyed by another person’s demeanor or actions. If that person is just an acquaintance, this is easily dismissed and let go. If, however, this person is close to us and we do nothing in ourselves to resolve this feeling of annoyance, it will grow into resentment. If this resentment is allowed to build, even the thought of the subject or the mention of his or her name will begin to cause us irritation.
Once we are irritated by another person to this degree, our feelings begin to reveal themselves on our face and in our behavior. Like an infection, the resentment is taking over our body. As this worsens, as our sickness grows, our resentment turns to contempt. Contempt is difficult to overcome. It is a deep sickness whose only cure is a degree of honesty and extreme self appraisal that few people are truly capable of.
If allowed to spread deeper into our being, contempt will grow into disgust. Disgust is nearly incurable. It is so malignant an emotion that it will require a complete overhaul of our mentality and personality if we are to be saved from it.
Beyond disgust lies only hatred and destruction, both self destruction and the desire to destroy others. Hatred is one step away from death, but even in hatred, so long as there is blood in our veins and breath in our lungs, there is hope. Through empathy, understanding, and compassion, we can be born anew.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
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