June 9, 2015
Making Peace With It
Make peace with it.
For me, these words always conjured up the idea of some major grievance. You were seriously wronged or hurt by another person. You're holding a major grudge. You're holding onto hatred or blame or guilt. Something horrible happened to you, or you did something awful in the past.
These were the things that you made peace with.
Or so I thought, until the other day, when a friend used these words with me when we were talking about something I was struggling with internally. She asked me if I could just make peace with it. Could I accept that it just is and that is okay? Could I let go of the black and white/right and wrong thinking that was forcing me to pick a side in my internal debate? Could I give a little on both sides? Could I just make peace with it?
I this case, "Making peace with it" had nothing to do with another person. No one had done anything to me. I hadn't made some horrible mistake. It had to do with two dueling parts of my psyche. It had to do with me trying desperately to come to a conclusion before moving forward. And since I couldn't find a way to reconcile these to opposing forces in my mind, I remained stuck. I was asking her advice on how to resolve this debate.
But instead of helping me resolve it, she asked if I could just accept it. Accept that there were two sides to this coin that couldn't be reconciled. Accept that maybe both things are true. Decide that that's okay. And move on.
Make peace with it, she said.
I just stared at her. Blankly. Frozen by the idea.
I am a debater. I like to hash things out until I come to a conclusion. Talk through it, and then decide. Believing not so much that there is an absolute right and wrong in most cases, but that there is a right and wrong for me...or at least a right and wrong for me right now.
Instead, she was asking me to hold both sides-- both of these beliefs, these realities that seemed contrary-- and allow them to coexist. In me.
That is so weird.
I looked at her dumbly. "I'll have to think on that," was all I could say. She seemed okay with that.
But I've been turning it over and over in my brain ever since we talked.
How could I make this work?
It's true that I had been stuck. The internal debate had kept me from being able to move forward. I wasn't making progress one way or the other, which was hugely frustrating. And maybe my inertia was, in fact, due to my inability to reconcile these opposing forces: a belief and a feeling, both true, both real, and both completely at odds with one another.
Make peace with it, she had said.
So I decided to give it a try.
When I had thoughts on one side of the coin, I acknowledged them, accepted them, and tried to do something to support them. And when I had thoughts on the other side of the coin, I did the same thing: acknowledge, accept and act.
I don't really know how it's working yet in terms of unsticking me. It's still too early to tell. But I have discovered one thing. Despite the fact that the beliefs behind them are contrary, the actions I have been taking to support these ideas have not been in opposition. Which is kind of cool. And I feel a little bit lighter without the weight of the ongoing argument inside of me.
So, this begs the question: What else could I benefit from making peace with?
I'll have to think on that.
Until next time, look inside yourself and see if there's anything you can make peace with...and then give it try. You might feel a bit lighter too.