Friday, June 24, 2011

An Enemy of Hostility: Understanding

To understand hostility is to understand insanity.

Hostility is a commonality in our society. It is delivered in both direct and subtle ways. Direct hostility is more easily dealt with in group settings, less so when dealing one-on-one. Subtle hostility is both difficult to detect and to counteract.

Both direct and subtle hostility can be dangerous and deadly when ignored. Beginning an exploration about each can yield benefits in a hostile workplace as well as a hostile world. Not embarking on that exploration prior to hostile acts may prove more dangerous and deadly than the hostility itself.

“To understand hostility is to understand insanity.” This is where to start in approach, attempt understanding, always. If we’ve been attempting understanding in other less dire situations, it will be there for us in our last moment or give us one last opportunity to change the course of a situation.

Hostility one-on-one can be the cliché life and death situation. Sometimes, there are no actions that can be taken to survive a direct attack, surprise or foreseen. If there is a little room for action, the action we take must be skilled, targeted and delivered with the force of our life.

Last year when I was assaulted and my life was attempted to be taken from this Earth, it was on-the-spot generation of understanding that saved my body from further harm and death.

As I knew my attacker, I didn’t see the attack coming, at all. There was no running from this, as I was truly completely alone and truly completely vulnerable. It was the shock of not having any awareness that I reacted to, not the physical attack by the person. Somehow, generating understanding was the proper response in that specific situation.

“Why are you doing this to me?” was what came out of my bloodied mouth. My on-the-spot attempt to understand my attacker saved my life. The would-be killer had this look of abject horror cross his face, and then he took off, leaving me behind to pick up the pieces.

I’ve been on a constant pursuit of understanding others. It comes naturally for me now. Understanding has become my default response to adversity, to feeling alien amidst the masses.

Understanding is a bridge between us. Even the most harsh of circumstances can be directly affected by its on-the-spot generation. Does this always yield success? No. But it does open up the door on possibility. That is the definition of understanding, being open to possibility.

To remain living despite my momentary lack of awareness is humbling. One moment of lacking awareness nearly ended my life. One moment of understanding brought it back from the brink caused by my break in my awareness.

Any missteps any of us ever take are understandable. If we remain vigilant in the midst of these missteps, we may be able to take a different step.

We must continually open the door of understanding.
We must consistently walk through it.

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