Retreat and surrender is sometimes best
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on July 18, 2017
There is nothing shameful in retreat.
Life is full of wars. We fight for custody of our children. We fight for lovers. We fight for jobs. We fight for justice.
We all must ask, “What is my motivation? What is my intention?” Most importantly, we must be honest. Are we battling out of love and service, for the best for everyone involved? Or is this a quest to fulfill our desires and cater to our egos?
Ego is always the wrong reason.
We tug-of-war for our children because we want to be perceived as good parents. We compete for significant others, even the wrong, unwilling ones, because we want to be perceived as desirable. We lie and connive for jobs or misrepresent our qualifications because we want to be perceived as successful. And, we attempt to reorder the world because we insist everyone live according to our expectations. After all, we want to be perceived as the one who knows best.
This is ego. The motivation isn’t love but attachment. You might win these ego battles, but there is no joy content in the booty, just scorched earth.
Battling, in general, isn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes the unwinnable wars are the most romantic of all. These are wars worth waging for the quixotic factor of timeless poetry. But those are battles for those who know themselves.
Ask yourself how you feel on your battlefield. When you raise your sword, are you pumped with passion, energy, love for all and purpose? If so, keep going. Or, is your skirmish plagued with worry, anger, violence, fear and bitterness?
Life isn’t a game of dodgeball where you wait for someone to smack you in the head before you are sidelined. You may have been battling for years, depleting your energy and your bank accounts and your support system. You may have been investing a lifetime in this battle. Just cut your losses. You don’t have to see it through just because you’ve been doing it forever.
That battle was never really being fought over children, lovers, jobs or justice. It was a solitary battle in your mind.
No ritual is necessary. Throw up your hands, say, “I’m out” and slam the door behind you. The rest of the world might thank you.