The Choice of Conflict

(image via Ray Hennessy)

(image via Ray Hennessy)

One day a scorpion asks a frog to help it get to the other side of a deep lake.

“Can you swim me on your back across the water?” asks the scorpion.

“Are you crazy?” says the frog. “You’re a scorpion. You’ll sting me and I’ll die!”

The scorpion calmly responds, “That’s silly. I can’t swim. If I sting you, and you die, then I’ll drown. Why would I do that?”

The frog considers this, and says, “Makes sense. Hop on my back. I’ll take you to the other side.”

About halfway across the lake, the scorpion suddenly, and without warning, drives it’s stinger into the frog. Gasping in pain and dying, the frog pleads, “Why did you do that? Now we will both die?”

The scorpion calmly answers, “I can’t help it. It’s what I do. It’s my nature.”

Consider for a moment all the struggles you have in your life that revolve around problematic relationships. How many of these struggles are long term and rarely seem to break through. You can fight the issues, consistently be disappointed, and find yourself forever frustrated. But if it is in their nature, that is, if what you want changed is not who they are, you are more likely to find yourself in a pattern of conflict retread than anything else.

If this is a conflict that has occurred three times previously, ask yourself the following: Have I presented my concerns fairly and reasonably? If yes, then is it in this person’s nature to be different? If you know it honestly is not, can you accept them for who they are, without expectation?

So much of the battle is in our minds, and not as we think, the responsibility or problem of the other person. If you can get to a place of acceptance of this basic truth, it may not be ideal, but you may find that a sense of relief and calm begins to pervade the relationship.

If you cannot, then lower your expectations or appropriately and with integrity withdraw from the relationship.

In the end, what happens in us is far greater than what happens to us. It is our one true option.

NatureDavid Baum