Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8/29/13—Letting Go of the Fight

Today's Draw: Fox in the House of Mice from the Keywordy Lenormand and the Deck of Lenormand Houses. How do you respond to criticism from others? Do you take responsibility for your actions? Or do you pretend that everyone else has the problem, not you?

Many years ago I had conflict with a friend. She had done something that made me feel very uncomfortable and awkward and I was angry. No, strike that. I was livid. It made me feel disrespected and misunderstood in our friendship and I told her as much. I fully expected her to get angry back and make a hundred excuses, but do you know what she did? She said, "I'm sorry. I was wrong. You are right to be angry. And I will never do it again."

Want to diffuse a hot situation? Say that. And mean it. 

See, to her, keeping our friendship was more important than being right. There was a higher plan in sight. And she HAD done the deed. Even in the moment I knew she had done it with good intention. It just didn't manifest that way and it ended up being something awkward and painful for me. To this day, we are still friends. In fact, I often think of her as someone who has been a better friend to me than I have been to her in many ways. I am humbled by her friendship and the powerful lesson she taught me. 

Fox (manipulation) in the House of Mice (damage, fears) is the complete opposite of what I just said...haha. And I've had that happen to me, too. This is when you confront someone who has wronged you and they use misdirection and subterfuge as their response. In the situation that comes to mind, I had a promise in writing from someone and they broke it. When I confronted them about it, they never addressed the actual promise. Instead, they completely rewrote history and fashioned a colorful story that danced around the issue and painted me as a culprit. 

I think the idea was that I'd leap into denial of all the things they accused me of or argue the points of history that they rewrote. But I didn't. I just kept reiterating my side of the story. And eventually I gave in because I'd rather be happy than right. In my 50 years I have only seen someone respond so...inventively...and in complete denial of something once before. Usually people will outright deny something, make excuses or argue the point. But someone who refuses to even acknowledge the original complaint in the first place? Repeatedly? I can only assume that they know they're wrong, but aren't able to admit it. They're so tied to being right and so competitive that being wrong is a defeat they can't handle. Both happen to be men. 

Men of my generation were raised to win, while women were raised to play nice. I read all about it in a book about the differences between men and women in the workplace. And it makes sense. Boys of my generation played games where there was definitive winner. Meanwhile, girls of my generation generally played with dolls and each got to take a turn at being mommy. I'm not relegating this behavior to being a solely male trait because I don't think it is. And most men grow up to rise above that mold. But there are aspects of the way men are socialized that predispose them to winning at all costs. It makes sense, but it doesn't make it right.

As a large person with a loud voice, I know I can be a little intimidating. But I can confidently say that, since I've become an adult, I've managed to take responsibility for my own actions. I've had people complain to me about things that I've done and even things that I haven't done. And I've taken their words and acknowledged them in the conversation. I am very open to constructive criticism, though I may not seem so approachable. But anything that helps my growth, when brought to me from a genuine place, is always welcome. 

In fact I recently had something brought to my attention that wasn't flattering. But the person was right. I wasn't conscious of what I had been doing, but now faced with it, I had to admit they were right. So I responded the only way a person should respond, "you are right, I apologize, it will never happen again." No excuses. No counter-blaming. Nothing of the sort. Just genuine complicity and appreciation for pointing something out to me that I could correct and be a better person as a result of.  

Sometimes giving in for the sake of happiness, balance, propriety or a higher purpose is misconstrued as weakness. I disagree. It takes a very strong person to let go of the bad behaviors of others for a higher goal. It also takes a very strong person to fess up when the other party is right. In all cases mentioned above, the relationship couldn't be sacrificed for one reason or another. So that was the larger maintain peace for as long as that relationship needed to last. 

Whether you're wronged or in the wrong, letting go of the fight can be a bitter pill to swallow. It's especially hard when you know you're right and the other person is in denial or afraid to admit they're wrong. But if you keep hitting your head up against a wall, it will leave permanent scars. Sometimes the most powerful comment you can make is to silently move forward, with dignity and resolve.


  1. I agree with you. It is a hard thing for most of us to admit our guilt and offer a genuine apology that doesn't go beoyond the I'm sorry part to include "BUT what I think is...."

    This is an interesting card, what would you relate it to in a more traditional deck?

  2. I really don't think I can equate it to anything in tarot. In fact, I'm not sure there's a tarot card that's as scary to get as this combo...haha. But that's what makes Lenormand so interesting. It offers a different conversation about situations than you'll get with tarot.