4. Straif

Resilience through hardship, hardening off, discipline, sacrifice

Tree: Blackthorn/Sloe (Prunus spp.)

Letter: Z

Image from Wikipedia

When you get mad or hate something because it goes against your grain, you have choices. You can wallow in your anger and lash out foolishly, which effectively makes you act in sympathy with that which you despise. You can do nothing/go the pacifist route and try to repress your anger, which will cause it to build up and eat at you from the inside in the form of depression. Thirdly, you can use your anger as a starting point or what is called a thrust block from which to make yourself so completely different from what is causing you anger that you end up rising above it and beating it at its game. Strife can either drag you down or raise you up by making you more resilient, but it is all in how you choose to handle it.

When you draw Straif, there is an experience being put in your way that isn’t pleasant. This experience can be transformed into a learning tool if you can work it out. Straif is a battle you must fight and often a disruption in routine. Just as a sword must be subjected to multiple processes to become sharp, sparks are going to have to fly before you can forge your destiny. You may need to sacrifice in order to become a stronger, better human being.

By admitting (not repressing), analyzing, and dealing with your dark emotions instead of allowing them to call the shots, drawing Straif well-dignified points to the real possibility you’ve dodged a nasty bit of strife because you’ve already learned not to be fear’s or anger’s puppet.

Questions when you draw Straif:
-List three of the major battles you’ve had to fight in your life.
-What was your most recent moment of painful but constructive self-analysis? Did you take action? What was the end result?

Straif ill-dignified excess: Bad faith
It’s possible you are excessively nice. As much as many people appreciate your kindness, you need to learn when to turn it off, because it is a way of surrendering to your own worst impulses. Learn to say “no” in a kind, polite, and respectful way and you will actually improve your appeal to others, which is what you’ve sought all along by being too nice. By drawing your own limits and gently but firmly insisting upon them, you provide a model not only for yourself but for others around you to develop resilience in the face of strife. It is OK to think highly of yourself — you don’t have to talk about how much you love yourself, but you can show others your self-respect via your boundaries.

Straif ill-dignified dearth: Always preparing for war
If you feel embattled and attacked at every turn, you may need to look at the common factor in all your conflicts: you. Not everyone you suspect of being against you or of disliking you actually feels that way. Most people are just like you, and what that means is their number one obsession is themselves! They too are dramatically concerned about how they appear to the outside world. Instead of presuming someone’s intentions towards you, strive to discern what they’re about before you condemn or praise them as being on “your side”. If you feel forces in the form of other people, luck in work and love, or even the forces of Nature herself are hostile towards you, the first place to look is why you perceive so much hostility that isn’t necessarily there.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

“I need a teacher quite as much as Helen (Keller). I know the education of this child will be the distinguishing event of my life, if I have the brains and perseverance to accomplish it.” -Anne Sullivan

“Don’t say ‘maybe’ if you want to say ‘no’.” -Ryan Holiday