8/26/10

Intensity is not a good sign...

Being a Buddhist I have always heard about the "Middle Path". It's further described in Wikipedia as a "moderation between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification". I think the smarter side of me has always been drawn to non-extremes and perhaps that is why I am best drawn to the Buddhist philosophy.

In fourth grade, I distinctly remember this boy who embarrassingly professed his love for me in front of the whole class, making it impossible to lead a normal class day for weeks. My visceral reaction was to run from this situation and that is exactly what I did. Much later in life, I dated a man who on the 2nd week of dating professed his love to me and wanted me to meet mom and dad. Again, my instinctual reaction was to get away from this situation for it felt wrong in a way I could not express to myself even, but I also could not ignore. No one ever taught me this was a red flag, but such lessons were not needed. I knew in every cell of my body, that for me, this level of intensity was wrong. Aside from the two examples above, I can list dozens of other incidences where people or situations that were too extreme in one way or another would cause me to repel. I like to think of it as a very helpful gift from our instincts.

After doing some further thinking I have decided that perhaps running or avoiding the situation or person who is intense is not always possible. First, I've decided that instead I'd just place my time, thoughts and actions primarily on people that gave me strength and blended with my energy level. The generic spiritual dogma might profess ' turning the other cheek' staying with the situation and learning from the extreme personality which is all nice and dandy. But it helps this fiery personality in no way by pretending they are not a clashing force to my whole system. Hence, my second solution would be to confront it decisively without anger but without backing down. Just as we do with children when they act out, we do them no favors by playing along with their negative behaviors and hiding our discomfort. As long as the 'standing-up-for-oneself' does not hold an ounce of anger trust that the words expressed will help the person grow eventually.




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