Humans are aggressive. As you move through life, your ability to navigate the minefield of conflict must be one of your greatest skills. Life is a competition, and those who adapt to its challenges are those who survive.
As Will Durant says in "The Lessons Of History", "The first biological lesson of history is that life is competition. Competition is not only the life of trade, it is the trade of life—peaceful when food abounds, violent when the mouths outrun the food. Animals eat one another without qualm; civilized men consume one another by due process of law."
I am sure you have felt aggression from others when the 'mouths' have outrun the supply. You have felt betrayal from a close friend or family member.
But you made it through.
If there is one thing us humans know how to do, it's to cope. Adapt. Survive.
If you are reading this you have survived something.
Freud says in "Civilization and Its Discontents", "The life imposed on us is too hard for us to bear: it brings too much pain, too many disappointments, too many insoluble problems. If we are to endure it, we cannot do without palliative measures."
By palliative measures, Freud means solutions. He lays out these three:
1. Powerful distractions, which cause us to make light of our misery...
2. Substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it...
3. Intoxicants, which anesthetize us to it...
Look around you at the world. This is what people do to cope with the aggression and competitiveness of life.
They watch sports. They focus on the moment. They smoke and drink.
I do not mean any of these three methods are inherently wrong.
Some of it is just our genes and instinct.
Like Durant says, "We are acquisitive, greedy, and pugnacious because our blood remembers millenniums through which our forebears had to chase and fight and kill in order to survive, and had to eat to their gastric capacity for fear they should not soon capture another feast."
I think there is a fourth way to cope that Freud left out. A more optimistic way.
You can embrace the whole of life. The grind, the aggression, the competition, and turn it upside down on it's head.
Like the Nobel Peace prize winner, Elie Wiesel says, "We sanctify life, not death. 'Ubakharta bakhaim,' says Scripture: 'You shall choose life' and the living.”
Tonight, I was reading for the book-of-the-day, "The Brothers Karamazov" and Dostoyevsky reminds us, "As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we supposed. And we ourselves are, too."
Even the most aggressive toward you probably don't mean as bad as they seem.
Find the good in the aggression of humans towards you. Use it as motivation to start something you have been procrastinating about.
I like to read and write when I feel wronged. Find what works for you.
Move forward with courage. Don't let what others have done to you build too much fear in your brain.
I just finished, "By The Spear" about Alexander The Great who said it best:
"Through every generation of the human race there has been a constant war, a war with fear. Those who have the courage to conquer it are made free and those who are conquered by it are made to suffer until they have the courage to defeat it, or death takes them.”
Let's have the courage to defeat our fears.