I used to think, not so long ago, that it was somehow virtuous to oppose others. My defiance was energizing. It was how I knew I was alive.
I was secretly proud whenever I heard myself referred to as a hothead. Having been painfully shy throughout childhood (and adulthood in certain situations), it was taken as a supreme compliment.
There was one problem. Several years ago I read somewhere the nagging question: "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be spiritual?" Try as I might, I couldn't get that nagging question out of my mind, especially following my trademark explosions.
At work, I am a member of a committee in which I strongly disagree with the other members on a current issue. My serenity has been ruined for weeks over this. It's the kind of upset which pervades nearly every waking moment- it's unshakeable.
Finally I've accepted that it's my choice to suffer over this. I spoke my mind; therefore my individual job was finished. The mistake I made was in pushing against the others afterwards, as if I could convince them that I was right. That's NOT my job. My job is to express my opinion when appropriate, even tweaking it when my perception changes. Beyond that, I am a member of a group, and my opinion hopefully melds with that of the others.
At home, I have certainly been guilty of pushing myself against the child and the Chihuahua. For example, I used to become livid whenever the dog behaved in a manner I deemed inappropriate. I yelled at the cowering animal as if he had wrecked my very life. But then, during the few days leading up to his castration, I softened, remembering that Paris Hilton's Chihuahua died during the same surgery. He survived the surgery, and I've been treating him like royalty ever since.
Has his behavior changed? Not really- only mine has, but my life is better. The dog bounces off the ceiling when he sees me, crying and even howling with joy. When things like that happen, with nothing but joy going on, I know I'm living the life I was meant to live. I'm being true to my nature.