Fighting everything and everyone is a never-ending battle — choose the path of the peacemaker

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world.” — Marcus Aurelius

How does it feel to be at war with your life?

Before you answer, take a deep breath.

How often do you feel frustrated because people don’t behave the way you expect? Or feeling conflicted because you want to be happy, but anxiety gets in your way?

Do you find yourself angry at tiny, little things without knowing why?

Whatever we resist, persists.

The biggest tragedy in our lives is that peace is possible. Yet, we spend most of our time, fighting reality.

Whatever we fight, we make it stronger. Painful and unpleasant experiences can be a burden or a source of growth.

Being at war with reality is a choice. You can accept your life and make peace. Or you can continue battling until the end.

Acceptance is giving up the fight, not your dreams.

Instead of wishing a different life, start by making the best out of the one you have.

Life is what it is. It will become what you make of it.

 

The Irrational Root of Conflict

“If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give — pleasure, possessions, power — but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.”

— Dada Vaswani

Many people confuse acceptance with resignation.

We are so used to constant battles that being at peace feels like giving up. The absence of conflict seems like cowardice rather than wisdom.

Acceptance is the first step to stop the war — it helps us understand the root cause of conflict.

As Pema Chodron says, “If we want to make peace, with ourselves and with the world at large, we have to look closely at the source of all of our wars.”

So often, we want to get our revenge, our payback. We want others to experience what we experienced. They have to feel our pain.

That’s how we want to get even.

But, trying to settle the score blinds our wisdom. Emotional, highly charged reactions take over us.

One attack produces another — events quickly escalate out of control.

The path of the peacemaker is about being open and receptive — to become one with our experience.

Being at war with reality splits us in two. It divides the world between them and us.

When something causes us suffering, we look for someone to blame. At some irrational level, we want to make the other guy pay.

This combative path is deceiving — you don’t even realize you are trying to settle the score.

As Chodron explains, “Settling the score is the path of making war, whereby aggression gives birth to aggression and violence gives birth to violence. Nothing is settled. Nothing is made even.”

Fighting everything and everyone is a never-ending battle.

 

The Path of the Peacemaker

Trying to change what we can’t control creates more tension. Being a peacemaker doesn’t mean avoiding conflict. But not to create extra, unnecessary ones.

Noah Rasheta uses Tetris as an analogy to explain how we deal with reality.

To win, you must position the piece that comes next in the best way possible. You cannot choose the shape though-you must work with whatever the Tetris game throws at you.

“That’s not the shape I was expecting. That’s not the one I need!”

When we try to control the game of life, we get stuck.

You don’t win on Tetris by yelling but by positioning the pieces the best way possible. Instead of fighting reality, you adapt to it.

How often do we get paralyzed because things don’t go as planned?

Acceptance helps us neutralize our frustration. We play with the pieces we get instead of expecting them to have a different shape.

Being a peacemaker is choosing wisdom over conflict. You want to solve the root cause — not to fight fire with more fire.

As Pendra Chondra wrote on Choosing Peace, when things get out of control, we quickly escalate our emotional reaction. We speak out and act out.

She cites the example of terrorists blowing up a bus. The army comes in to settle the score. What about pausing and reflecting on why terrorists are so full of hatred? Why did they want to kill innocent people?

Is the score settled when the army kills the terrorists? Or is violence escalating their anger?

We must find a better way of settling the score than retaliation.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

Acceptance doesn’t mean condoning harmful, evil acts but acting with wisdom.

Instead of reacting to ‘what it is,’ we try to understand the events that are out of our control. We look for clarity, not for revenge.

 

Make Peace with Yourself

Most conflicts are self-inflicted.

We keep expecting things to be different, versus accepting them as they are. That’s why we are always trying to change other people too.

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” — Nathaniel Branden

The root cause of suffering is both simple and complex: life is not under our control.

You are not perfect. No one is.

You can’t change others. You can’t control the future. You can’t change the past. You can’t expect people to think or react as we would.

We will all die.

When we accept this universal truth, it’s easier to accept more mundane matters.

“If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” — Lao Tzu

Come to terms with yourself.

You can’t end a conflict if you don’t know how it started.

Tara Brach defines acceptance as “recognizing the truth of this moment without resistance.”

Being at war with reality is like an addiction.

Acceptance requires courage — you must confront, not avoid, yourself. The first step of the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program is vital. It requires admitting we can’t control our addictions.

In Acceptance Commitment Therapy — ACT, ‘Acceptance’ stands for opening up.

We give our feelings, sensations, and emotions some breathing space. And allow these experiences — no matter how uncomfortable — to be as they are.

We don’t resist the truth of the moment.

Accepting yourself with all your weaknesses is the first step towards reconciliation. Our imperfections remind us that nothing in life is perfect.

Opening up doesn’t mean liking everything. But to stop fighting painful situations and creating unnecessary, extra suffering.

We all experience frustration, disappointment, rejection, failure, and loss. Creating an abundant, meaningful life requires to accept the pain that comes with it.

Instead of fighting or resisting our emotions, we open up and let them be.

Eckhart Tolle said, “Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

Accepting reality starts with accepting yourself.

Become your best friend. Accept the pieces that life throws at you instead of expecting different shapes.

Acceptance is not surrendering your dreams but to stop fighting a pointless war. Make life work for you — not against you.

 

Surrender to Yourself

How can you transition from resistance to acceptance?

You must set yourself free — surrender to life.

As psychologist Carl Rogers said, “It wasn’t until I accepted myself just as I was that I was free to change.”

Radical acceptance is defusing the emotional reaction that clouds our understanding.

It’s accepting life on life’s own terms. And not resisting what we cannot — or choose not to — change. Radical acceptance is saying yes to life as it is.

Learn to observe your thoughts, not to see life through them. By removing the ‘mental fog,’ you gain clarity.

When you are looking up, watching the clouds go by, there is no resistance. You are observing, not fighting, reality,

It’s pointless to feel upset because the clouds don’t have the shapes you expected.

Be willing to not fight the fight–choose peace instead.

“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and become comfortable with not knowing.” — Eckhart Tolle

Surrender means saying ‘yes’ to life.

Most people don’t want to be where they are, according to Tolle.

We don’t want to be in traffic jams, airport security checkpoints, or toxic workplaces.

Sometimes, walking out is a good option. But, constant escapism is dysfunctional.

Avoidance is the polar opposite of acceptance. Living becomes less painful when you accept reality. Focus on doing your best with the pieces you get.

Stop asking, “Why is this happening to me?

Resistance is rooted in victimhood — we don’t deserve the suffering.

Life is not fair — it’s not unfair either. Life just is.

Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation.

You can open the wounds further or accept what you don’t like. That’s how you will heal.

Being happy requires surrendering to the moment. You can’t appreciate what you have if you are always fighting reality.

Surrender to yourself. Make peace with your life.

 

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