Blog Archives

Weakness and Fear

“When people are least sure, they are often most dogmatic.”  — J.K. Galbraith

Weakness and fear make me defensive and dogmatic (adhering strictly to something).  I often find myself becoming strident and aggressive without any apparent reason.  I insult my acquaintances, hurt my friends, and even frighten the neighbor’s children.   In that moment, I may feel I am being strong and assertive, and yet the effects are just the opposite of what I had intended.  I am hurting, and so I lash out and wound others.

What am I hiding?  Why am I feeling threatened, vulnerable and weak?  I usually strike out when hiding my needs and fears.  I think that, if I attack, maybe I won’t need to let anyone in.  I start to make-up in my mind that if I let people in, they won’t love me; I feel unworthy and shameful.

I have come to find out however, that it is the strong that are tolerant and charitable and forgiving.  As I continue to grow in confidence and strength, I will find that I too am able to be flexible, patient and open with others.  I am striving to be strong, open, tolerant and loving.

Better To Bend Than Break

 

 

There’s an old fable about the competition between the reed and the oak during a gale storm.  As the wind howled, the oak boasted, while the reed said nothing.  The wind became a tempest, and the reed bent down flexibly to the ground.  The oak fell, uprooted.

THE OAK AND THE REED

On the bank of a river grew a tall Oak Tree.
It stood with its roots firm in the ground,
and its head high in the air, and said to itself:

“How strong I am! Nothing shall make
me bow. I look down upon all the other trees.”

But one day there was a storm. The terri-
ble unseen wind came and struck the proud
Oak. Crash! went the trunk, down came all
the beautiful branches, and the Tree fell into
the river. As the water carried it away, it
passed by a Reed that grew on the bank.
The little Reed stood up tall and slender, and
looked at the poor broken Tree.

“O Reed,” said the Tree, “how did it happen
that you were not broken down and spoiled
when the wind came? You are so little and
weak, and I was so strong and proud.”

“Ah! poor Tree,” said the Reed, “that is
just the reason that the wind did not hurt me.
I bent low until it had gone by, but you stood
stiff, and tried to stop it on its way. No one
can stop the wind. It must go where it is sent,
but it will not hurt those who are not proud
and stubborn.”

It is better to yield – bend when logic demands it, or break [be destroyed] by pride.

Sometimes we seem strong but we are just being stubborn.  We become rigid in our moral positions and don’t even try to understand the problems of those around us.  We like to be thought of as uncompromising and tough.

Maybe we’re frightened.  Perhaps we fear that if we even start to compromise we will be lost; on sign of weakness and the dam will burst and we’ll be up to our old tricks again.

Don’t confuse rigidity with true strength.  To be strong we need to be tolerant, responsive, and gentle.  We need to be strong in a loving, flexible, human way.  This is a central part of one’s personal growth.