Reflections on Retaliation

Different themes of retaliation often whirl through my thoughts. It is the one feature of human behaviour that has debilitated our growth as an individual, a community, a nation and geo-politically. There are countless examples of how cycles of retaliations eventually demolishes us into human rubble – World War II, the Yugoslavian conflict, Rwandan genocide, the current state of major pockets of the globe….so much of the ruin and destruction from these events are debris of retaliations each side has harnessed against the other, often ending with one side unleashing overwhelming atrocity against the other. My friend joked that from a safe distance, it looked like playground fights where there were no adults to intervene and coax everyone to take a deep breath and rise above the ‘You started it!’ ‘No you started it’ spat. When it comes to world events, I admit I am very much a breathless spectator and not so much a useful interlocutor.

But what of as an individual? It’s been one of the main tenets of my journey for progress. How do we rise above the compelling instinct to retaliate when provoked. Sarcastic put-downs, condescending admonishments, saccharine words wrapped in passive aggression, velvet gloved commentaries… the repertoire of low-grade reactions when angered are endless and nasty. The hard work is to take a step back, sit with the fury, examine the root cause and most difficult of all, respond with your mind, not your gut. If you must respond with words or action, say and do with constructive reason, not for revenge.

Quite often, the valve that activates anger, is usually the same valve that activates fear. And when digging deep into the fear, it usually rotates around the need to feel validated. Yes, it’s that old chestnut of self-affirmation being the answer again. It is an ongoing and complex process, and this year in particular, owing to the global shift in our life experience, these questions couldn’t be avoided. Most of us have come to the realisation that some cycles are meant to be broken out of and it usually starts with learning to approve ourselves, independent of external perception of our self image. Let’s keep up the momentum and step into the next year more evolved and content with our space in time by letting go of the temptation to instantly gratify, and invest deeper into the long term gains of a life well lived.

9 thoughts on “Reflections on Retaliation

  1. My lovely friend, this was a fabulous and thought-inspiring read, thank you so much for this! You´ve described this real conundrum beautifully and so on point. I love reading your deep musings on these essential questions, and I feel blessed to know you:) I have learned and trying to apply that it often helps if we get triggered into (usually old) anger, to step back and walk away from the situation for a few minutes, to re-center. But – def a work in progress, and I very much agree with you on the importance of learning to self-affirm!:) Thanks lovely, big hugs and enjoy your weekend ❤️💮🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahh as always thanks so much for sharing your wisdom here my dear, it always gives me both a smile and some food for thought 💕 You’re right that stepping back and re-centring is the go to position when angered. In the online medium of today’s WFH environment, I’m trying to refrain from responding to messages that irritate and wait for a calmer moment before expressing myself. It’s definitely something that requires alot of self discipline on my part! Thanks again for your thoughts and wishing you a fantastic weekend yourself 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It´s my absolute pleasure dear, so glad to hear that 💕 I love your approach of reigning in those first impulses of reactivity and opting to wait to reply with more composure. Great job! Def something that takes practice, I´d assume for most of us. I can definitely relate. Thanks for your lovely wishes, and have a great Wednesday over there:) 😍

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written. Self-interest, ego, greed, the need for power and domination. Mix that with ignorance, and you’ve got someone like Trump leading the world’s superpower. Scary! Mix that with a forgotten colonial history and the thirst for ‘validation’ and ‘self-affirmation’, as you wrote, and you’ve got Boris Johnson and Brexit. These people are backward-looking has-beens. The world lacks visionaries, don’t you think? Leaders who elevate and are inclusive, who have a strong vision of the future, and want to take us all on a fabulous ride.

    We have a lack of role models today, don’t you think? Interestingly, the few role models we have are women: Greta Thunberg, Jacinda Ardern, Nadia Murad, Tsai Ing-wen, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Juliet you took the words out of my mouth with all your musings re Trump, Boris, Brexit etc and role models of Jacinda, Murad (not sure who is Tsai and will look her up). I do think the female leaders we currently have are more invested in the longer game of future generations and the alpha males of Trump and his ilk are so much more about their vanity today. Indeed I havent been inspired for years now with visionary leaders that you so well described. I wonder what the next four to five years will bring us with Biden at the helm- will it trigger a call for more sanity in other parts of the world? I sure hope so! Thanks again Juliet and have a beautiful Sunday 😊🙏🏼

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