Years ago, there was a campaign in Israel against road-rage, with the slogan, “On the road, don’t be just, be wise.” I find that, over the years, I care less about being just. To be righteous is an uphill battle. It is tiring and, ultimately, not worth it. I no longer need to convince others that my perspective is the only correct one. I let go. To each their own.
When I offend someone, which would typically be unintentionally, and it is brought to my attention, I am less defensive; I simply apologize. I seek peace and harmony, not to be right.
In recent weeks I had a couple of instances where actions I took and actions I didn’t take, were offensive to some people. In one instance, I forgot to offer condolences to a person who’s family relative had passed away. I was preoccupied with other matters, and since that person and I are not that close, it skipped my mind. When this was brought to my attention, I sent condolences and offered an apology for my tardiness. The apology was accepted and harmony restored.
In another instance, I made comments that to me sounded innocent, but were taken otherwise by the other party. Rather than trying to justify and defend my position, I offered an apology. If the other person chooses to accept it, that’s fine. If they do not, it’s their choice. While I elect not to be righteous anymore, I also set boundaries as to what I am willing and unwilling to do. “You cannot shake hands,” I believe it was Gandhi who once said, “with a clenched fist.”
The passing years, as well as the spiritual work that I do, taught me some hard-learned lessons. Being right all the time is not only tiring, it also prevents me from really listening to what the other person says as I am too busy defending my position. When I lower my defenses, I can hear, and adjust what I say and do. This is valuable so that next time I can do it better.