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Read Letter

Shangri La

My dear Jil, well here’s another epistle of uncomfortable truth. Someone has to tell you! Your friends can’t tell you. They’re afraid of the consequences of telling you. It takes a lot to try and tell someone resistant to correction uncomfortable truth. Usually not worth the emotional risk.

A thin skinned person is not amenable to even the IDEA of correction. Takes everything personal! And everyone is afraid of exposed nerve endings, and the obligatory bitter and piercing riposte. But I have no problem telling you the truth. The trepidation of your friends is damned in me. I have nothing to lose! Coupled with my age, and the certainty of nothing to gain from you the privilege of rebuke is conferred on me. You want to know why you’ve not been able to maintain a relationship. I’m going to tell you. And please don’t resort to the usual “How about the men!”, or “How about so and so!” retort. Truth is not sexist. Neither is the issue meliorated by the outing of those considered similar offenders. How can a thief seek to blunt the charge of misappropriation by pointing to the lack of apprehension of other thieves? Truth is, such attitude only reinforces the fact of your unwillingness to partake of correction. Comes across badly.

I’m going to talk to you about this I-know-it-all-I-can’t-be-corrected attitude. The adamantine know-all pertinacity is what creates the emotional repugn. It makes men tired. No one knows it all. No one can know it all. Even if your name is Google. If you have a fish eye lens view of life there’ll still be things beyond your peripheral comprehension. And even if you do know a lot, another perspective can’t hurt. Will give you a fuller picture and you learn to listen to other points of view. You learn to be accommodative of divergent opinions. You learn to see things from another man’s perspective – even if you don’t agree with the view. Without this openness you can’t have a relationship.

But disagreeing with someone is one thing, disagreeability is another. If you have a disagreeable spirit you won’t have a relationship. It’s the antithesis of relationship. Famous Amos said, two can’t walk together except they be agreed. If you’re disagreeable you’ll always insist on your interpretation of life. Then you have a one man two-man relationship. And honestly such relationships are emotionally draining. You can’t always, always be right.

And rightness is not even the issue. It’s YOUR rightness – the need to dominate to placate your insecurity. Pride! If being right is more important to you than a relationship why cry in private you don’t have a relationship? With your attitude if you do start a relationship you’ll either break it, or have a relationship with no relationship. The “relationship” will be held together by the plaster of resignation, or the adhesive of accommodation of separate lives. There’ll be many fights, and silent wars. Pieces of peace. It’ll be a strenuous relationship. Too much stress. Why? Because it’s either your way or nothing. You’ll amass too much power in the relationship to your detriment.

And every time the other person’s perspective carries the day you’ll fall into a mood. Inky black mood. Just because you don’t have your way you’d go into a tiff, for days; you’ll stop relating. Sometimes, we need to stop and ask ourselves the question: Would you have a relationship with you? Once being disagreeable for the sake of being disagreeable becomes a lifestyle, you’ll become a Shangreeist. I coined that term from the phrase, “I shan’t agree!” A Shangreeist never agrees. Everyone rolls eyes tellingly when a shangreeist enters a conversation. Can never agree to the obvious. Your shangreeism overwhelms all your wonderful qualities. And that can be confusing. You’ll be desirable, as in there’ll be desirable qualities in you but that shangreeism will put everyone off. And since no one can tell you the truth about yourself, your way of life becomes righteousness to you. Perhaps another expression for shangreeism is stubbornness with a demonic quality.

Certain things go with shangreeism. One of such is persecution complex – the feeling that people have ganged up against you. This will be fueled by the fact that at some point everyone will be tired of you. Everyone! They’ll soon relegate you to your corner. That you can’t handle. You’ll fight everyone. And how healthy is that? This will lead to bouts of depression, your energy constantly drained. Your face will develop pallor, with blemishes. You’ll stop caring about appearances and so become less attractive on occasion. But who’ll dare tell you? Meanwhile, you’ll think you’re tough! Relish it!

The other associate of shangreeism is nagging. O my! Listen to Solomon: “A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; you can’t turn it off, and you can’t get away from it.” Nagging is insisting on people following your exact instruction through constant repetition, like a woodpecker. A nagging woman chases men away. Only those in stubborn pursuit of sainthood through self immolation will apply. Nagging as adjective of shangreeism is a terrible disambiguation. Relationship with a shangreeist is haaaard!

If you want a relationship you have to drop these bad traits. You learnt them, unlearn them. Love does not insist on having its own way. God said that. And you can’t be righter than God, even if you’re always right. Humble yourself. Or you’ll have many crying nights ahead of you.

But you won’t even agree with that would you?

Your mentor, LA


© Leke Alder 2014


Tags : Truth, Disagreeable

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