If you are anything like me, you may feel attacked from time to time.
In those moments our enemy is the “idiot” that cut us off on the highway, the boss that doesn’t appreciate us enough, the guy we think is flirting with our girlfriend or maybe just the overall raw deal we think life has irritatingly bestowed upon us.
If we get to play on a bigger stage, perhaps we feel pilloried by our political opponents or the media.
If we work in a struggling organization, maybe we feel slighted by “unfair” legislation or competition that we think gets to play by different rules.
Real victimization does exist, of course. And those cases can be appalling, tragic and deserving of outrage and harsh consequences.
Yet we should be careful to distinguish between substantive and real attacks and those that we make up in our heads in an attempt to protect our egos or to distract us from the real, often challenging, work at hand.
When I blame others for my own struggles I am often avoiding uncomfortable truths about myself.
When the politician spends much of his time lashing out at others, he ignores the reality of his own accountability and power.
While it is convenient for the retail CEO to blame Amazon for her company’s woes, the company’s lack of innovation under her leadership is probably the real culprit.
Much of the time the truth is there if we are willing to look for it. And when we are willing to accept it and act on it, progress can be made.
Ultimately it serves precisely no one for us to fight battles over trivial stuff, particularly if they are with the wrong person. And a fight with reality has no winners.
To paraphrase Ajahn Chah, most of the time our real enemy is delusion.
h/t to Jack Kornfield