The Eternal Struggle


Do you ever feel like you’re fighting a battle in your own head between the side of you that wants to love everyone & be kind & peaceful & wonderful & the other side of you that wants to throw your hands up & say “To hell with it” because there is just so much negativity in the world that trying to be positive sometimes feels like entirely too much effort?

The Yin and Yang of Good and Evil

The Yin and Yang of Good and Evil

If you’re at all human, I think the answer to this question will be a resounding “YES!”  After all, if this isn’t the eternal struggle that we all face, I don’t know what is.

Lately this struggle has become more & more apparent in my own mind, for a variety of reasons I suppose.  In any case I end up feeling like I vacillate between being a modern day version of a hippie who wants to save the world & a grumpy old lady who can’t comprehend why the world just doesn’t make sense anymore.  To be perfectly honest, if living in this world doesn’t make you angry at times, then I have to seriously wonder about your sanitypema chodron quote 2

To expound a little further on this internal battle, the “soft” loving part of me sees all the negativity & pain in the world & seeks to find ways to soothe these wounds.  The gentle part of me sees a nasty, hateful person & wants to hug them & tell them that life has been far too cruel to them & they don’t deserve the misery they’ve suffered.  The “angel” in me goes out of my way to give food to the homeless, to open the door for strangers (particularly if they’re elderly or struggling to manage a baby or young children), & to generally be a calming, reassuring presence in an often chaotic world.  This softer side of me sees a sunset or looks up at the stars or lies in my lover’s arms & knows that this, THIS is exactly why I’m alive.  And it’s enough to offset all the sorrows & struggles that life inevitably brings.dalai lama quote temple

But then there’s the other, “colder” part of me that sees all the negativity in the world & just wants to scream.  Natural disasters are frightening & often tragic, but those I can handle to a certain degree because I know they’re inevitable; they’re clearly beyond our control as human beings.  It’s the pain we cause ourselves that’s most difficult to watch: the wars; the violence within our society; the drug use; the physical, emotional, & sexual abuse that we use to tear each other apart; the divisiveness that pervades our society & constantly tries to polarize us into an “us vs them” mentality; the complete disregard for logic that the average person displays in their daily life.  THESE are the things that make me feel like a grumpy old lady who proclaims the world’s “going to hell in a handbasket.”frustration 1

To be a little more specific, here are some of the things that have really been griping me lately:

  • America’s cultural acceptance of obesity
  • The fact that the average American couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map (or globe)
  • Women (& men) who follow fashions (In case this seems superficial & you’re wondering why, it pisses me off that the same people who wouldn’t have been caught dead in skinny jeans five years ago are now wearing them on a daily basis because magazines & stores told them they were cool, & furthermore these same people won’t be caught dead in those same skinny jeans five years from now when they’re no longer cool anymore . . . I have two fashion rules & they’re very simple: If I like it, I’ll wear it, regardless of whether it’s in style or not. If I don’t like it or if it’s unduly uncomfortable, I won’t wear it, no matter how popular it is.  Why anyone would ever choose to make getting dressed any more complicated than this is beyond me.)
  • Pop music
  • Women who constantly complain about the dearth of good men in the world but also hold absolutely no standards for the men they date (aka have sex with)
  • Men who think it’s ok to stare at random women or make inappropriate remarks to them just for the hell of it

    In case you're wondering why pop music makes me angry, this quote explains it.

    In case you’re wondering why pop music makes me angry, this quote explains it.

I could go on & on but for the sake of not sounding too much like a “Negative Nancy” I’ll stop for now.

Here’s the thing that I’ve realized about this eternal battle that we all face within ourselves: both the softer & harder parts of ourselves are desperately needed in this world.  There are legitimate reasons to be happy & there are legitimate reasons to be angry.  And we cannot be either one of those things all the time.  It’s all about balance.  There are no negative or bad emotions.  There are only emotions & what we do with them.  Indeed we could not appreciate the “good” without the “bad.” emotion quote

I consider myself a humanist so I truly do believe that as human beings we have the power to effect a lot of positive change in this world.  And I truly believe we are the masters of our own destiny.

But I also believe that most of us do a really shitty job of exercising the power that we have over our own lives.  Please know that I am equally guilty of this at times, or I wouldn’t feel the need to write this post.  As I’ve mentioned before, I write this blog principally for myself, to maintain my own sanity & mental wellbeing.  If my musings somehow inspire others, that’s just icing on the cake, so to speak.humanism quote

So my message to myself & to anyone who happens to be reading this today is this: stop fighting against yourself.  There are going to be days when you look at the world & ponder how lucky you are to experience all the wonders & joys that life can bring.  And then there will be other days when you just want to scream & pound your fists against the wall.  And there will be many more days on which you vacillate between these two extremes over & over throughout the day.  That’s just life.  It’s all a part of being human, & it’s ok.  As long as we’re alive on this earth, we’re going to face this internal struggle between the so-called “softer” & “harder” parts of ourselves.  The thing to do is to recognize the struggle & let it happen.  In other words, don’t fight it; let it fight itself.  None of us can ever be happy & peaceful & loving all the time.  Because of the evil that exists in this world, there are times when we really do need to be angry & frustrated because that is what pushes us to make a positive difference in this world.  Sometimes it’s this anger at the injustices in the world that gives us a reason to keep “fighting the good fight.”anger into action

So don’t let anyone ever tell you that your anger is a sin.  Life is all about balance.  None of us will ever be perfect at finding that balance, but that just gives us a reason to keep trying.

I’ll end today’s post with what might be my favorite song ever by In This Moment.  Even if you don’t normally like their music, I implore you to give this song a listen.  I find it so inspirational & empowering that I seriously question your humanity if you can listen to it & not be moved in some way.maria brink

Here are the lyrics:

I don’t need you to save me
I don’t need you to cure me
I don’t need you
And your antidote
For I am my disease

I don’t need you to free me
I don’t need you to help me
I don’t need you
to lead me through the light
For I will always fall

And rise again
Your venomous heroine
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will fall and rise above
And in your hate I find love
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will not hide my face
I will not fall from grace
I’ll walk into the fire, baby
All my life I was afraid to die
But now I come alive inside these flames

You don’t want me to love you
You don’t want me to need you
You don’t want to look at me,
For you will turn to stone

You don’t want me to hurt you
You don’t want me to bite you
You don’t want me
Or my aching soul
For I will only fall

And rise again
Your venomous heroine
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will fall and rise above
And in your hate I find love
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will not hide my face
I will not fall from grace
I’ll walk into the fire, baby
All my life I was afraid to die
But now I come alive inside these flames

I don’t need you to save me
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will not hide my face
I will not fall from grace
I’ll walk into the fire, baby
All my life I was afraid to die
But now I come alive inside these
‘live inside these
‘live inside these flames

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Eternal Struggle | Dana Ellington Myles, MAPW

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