“It is a common piece of shrewdness to change a rival into a confidant, to transform into guards of honour those who were aiming attacks at us.”
Get in first. This is what this piece of wisdom is all about.
Whilst many people are readily consorting about avenging the wanton attacks of people who set themselves against us, it is a better idea to anticipate the injury coming at us than be blindsided by the inevitable attacks that we all know are coming.
Why be surprised or shocked?
This is not a blight on the people close to us so much as a reality check for the normal flow of life. We hurt, and are hurt, in a flash. Better to always be ready, and better still to convert the loss—in the instant it occurs—to favour. And better again to predict it and counter it even before it sticks. This is investing half a mind for the onset of conflict, a potential reality at all times.
Gracian finishes his little aphorism [#259] by saying, “Try to make a confidential relation out of ill-will itself.”
This is marking every negative as a turn-around positive—a radical trick of the mind.
This is the ability to like one’s lips at the presence of conflict; not totally denying the inner child’s feelings so much as leaping over them to go one up!—and this, not just for us, but for all parties involved; most especially the perpetrator.
This is what A.W. Tozer would call, “A noble reserve of bearing that cannot be mistaken.”
Imagine the trust-of-rapport we establish when we simply can’t be hurt—the safety we carry in, and of, ourselves—when we just don’t react that way anymore... this, of course, is an ideal to strive for, not a practice to perfect.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.