Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The three most difficult things?

Anthony de Mello has said, The three most difficult things for a human being are:
1. returning love for hate
2. including the excluded
3. admitting you are wrong

I can definitely get on board with the first one. Retaliation is my immediate desired response when I feel someone's hatred toward me. And of course hatred is a strong word. Watered down it can become dislike, disapproval, dismissal... all those "D" words that make us feel small and worthless, unloved and misunderstood. Returning neutrality for hate is the most I've ever been able to muster so far... I'm working on it.

Including the excluded is a bit easier, especially if you have a soft spot for the underdog, which I seem to have. Maybe it helps to have been the underdog enough times that to return the favor of inclusiveness is only fair. So the degree of difficulty on this one doesn't compute for me. I can see the truth of the statement in our society, though. "In" clubs, gated communities, private blogs... they all work in one way or another to shut out whoever we wish to exclude.

So what about the third one? I think most people like to be right. But liking to be right is like liking to sing on pitch... it doesn't always happen. I'm wrong a lot. so? It would be stupid for me to try to cover up those instances. I may be embarrassed. But embarrassment is highly overrated as a motivating factor. It only lasts as long as we want it to. Sure, you can nurse an embarrassing moment, brood over it... whip yourself into a humiliation frenzy if you want, but what's the point? Nobody cares but you. Nobody probably even remembers it but you.

What do you think? Did he leave something out?


alto artist said...

First off, thank you for reading and linking to my blog! And, these are such wise words. I think the third one encompasses all three. If we humans were not so stubborn, and could more easily see what's really happening around us, we would understand our mistakes of hating or excluding. I think we always know when we do those things, but avoid admitting it.


Neen said...

I think he hit the nail right on the head. It is so easy, too easy really just to do the opposite of these things.

I see it almost everyday and it really saddens me. The catty talk of some of the mothers at my daughter's school, their little cliques, seeing people just pass by and not even glance at the homeless man who hangs out at a local plaza.

I feel like I am the odd one at times, because I do care, and that scares me to a point.

Wanderer said...

I think the author is absolutely right. If we could always do all three of those things ALL the time, that would make us incredibly Christlike.

I try to do those things, but I certainly fall short of perfection there.