Humans are walking contradictions, aren’t we? We swear up and down that we will never act a certain way, loudly claiming, “We would never do that!” We shake our heads, exasperated at the inability of the people around us to see the reasons behind their problems, and yet we cannot even recognize our own. Have you ever noticed that? It’s always easier to identify what’s wrong in someone else’s life than it is to look critically at our own. We forget though that it is often the traits we react most strongly to in others that are revealing of our own nature. Extreme pleasure or displeasure at a behavior is a pretty good indicator that that behavior is something we either admire and aspire to or despise in ourselves. Thus is the contradictory nature of being human.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“So much of our lives are glaring contradictions.We swear that we will never be like our mothers, then find ourselves screeching on the same note. We know we would never manipulate others the way our boss manipulates us, and then we catch ourselves doing it.
We seem to see so clearly ‘out there,’ while ‘in here’ is a muddle. Relax, it’s all part of this addictive disease process. It’s called denial. Breaking through the denial about what is really going on in our lives is the first step to recovery.”
Denial is easy to live in, because it doesn’t require us to own up to any of our misgivings, shortcomings, or faults. Rather than deal with our problems, we pretend they don’t exist. Denial keeps us from seeing the truth about our own lives, but the contradiction is that we can still see the truth in others’. Contradiction is when two or more inconsistent principles exist in the same entity. Who among us isn’t filled with inconsistencies? I love early mornings when the world feels fresh and new, yet I also enjoy the quiet, dark stillness of the night when it’s late and it feels as though the world was made just for you. I am very quiet at times, preferring to take everything in by watching, observing, listening… yet there are times I shout rather than talk, when I am so loud and rambunctious that my friends have to tell me to quiet down. To be human is to be a walking contradiction. Life is all about balance between opposing forces. Light and dark. Yin and yang. We just need clarity, to break through our illusions and denial, to be able to see and accept how life really is.