I've written a number of times on the benefits of having an archenemy. Or at least being controversial enough that you are noticed by others. And it is not necessary to actually piss people off inorder to get noticed, but sometimes you can't help it.
Today I attended, am attending, TEDx Austin. And the topic today, the theme/motto/masterstroke is Fearless.
And who walks in after lunch but my PRIME internet/twitter archenemy. (He will go nameless at this point, but you'll know who he is if you know anything about my past. (if you really want to know, pingme here j...@uber<dot>la ) We've never met in person. And when I noticed him, I walked up shook his hand and introduced myself.
[An aside: You see, I've tried to bridge our relationship several times since our clash years ago, and he's never responded. And when ever I run into someone who is BLOCKING me on Twitter. Often, people I've never met. It's almost always a friend/colleage of this person. See: Twitter Blocking Talk about poisoning the water in the well.]
His first reaction was, "I've got to go to the bathroom," and he passed on without a pause. Funny how he passed on and walked right over to a group of my friends and began talking to them. I laughed my inner "MUWAAHAAHAA." But I left him undisturbed. He's got problems of his own, and confronting him further, even if it was only trying to say HI and once again trying to clear the air, the dead wood, the poisoned water. But obviously that wasn't within his construct of who and how evil I was/am. So he withered and practically ran past me.
But we have to be fearless. We have to risk saying "I love you," and "I am sorry" first. We have to do it without dependency on the outcome. And then we have to go ahead and put the hand/heart out there.
And my frustration with this person does somehow fuel parts of my social process. I am not exactly clear why this "blocking" gets under my skin. But it does. And here I am writing yet another post about HIM. GAK. (That was the hairball I am coughing up for the last time.)
And today, with the touch of his hand, and my genuine outreach of peace, I got his message loud and clear. Okay. Carry on.
So what can we gain by having controversy or outreach of peace?
Like past lovers and past rivals we can strive to be better, to achieve more than they imaged we would achieve when they decided to leave or poison us. But it's this little man's hand, that finally got the rest of the message across.
I am not alone in the process of enmity. And I cannot solve or repair the fracture without the participation of the other party. And when that potential is colored by cynicism and fear, there is very little we can do, as individuals, to repair with someone who does not want to grow or forgive or let go of the fear.
But I can drop the gauntlet. I can drop the challenge and silence the alarm in my own process. And I now leave this gentleman to his ferral fear.
And as I walk away from this anger and frustration, I can strive to understand my own motivations. And from my own fearlessness and vulnerability I can heal more of my own fear. I am not one to hide from conflict, when I'm healthy. But when I'm am unhealthy, sad, tired, or depressed, I also hide from conflict.
Today is not one of those days. But today I can fearlessly give up this old rival to his own fester. With the touch of his hand, my outreach of peace was rejected even as he was accepting my handshake before he had a chance to read my TEDx name badge and discover who I was. I said my name and looked right at him.
I'll take that energy, thinking about him, and move my focus elsewhere. With this final offering, I have been released.
Do you have former rivals you need to forgive or forget? Is there someone who still holds a grudge against you? Perhaps it's time to look fearlessly into YOUR part of the equation and simply, let them go.
credits: Fearless logo courtesy of TEDx Austin.
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Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it. (from Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement)
Note: the post above was written over two years ago, to address the attacks this archenemy launched at me when we had a disagreement.