Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"At some point you have to accept defeat..."

****** A dear friend from life-times past made the comment : "At some point you have to accept defeat...." These words were said a couple of months ago; and certainly not in the context of my life with breast cancer. These words, however, have gnawed at me. I find that I bristle at the implications. I find, that I cannot help but think of the myriad of situations where someone might say them to me. And this thinking started me to wonder about the concept of "defeat" and "acceptance" in all facets of my life.

Definition of DEFEAT (n.)

1: frustration by nullification or by prevention of success
2: obsolete : destruction
3 a : an overthrow in battle / b : the loss of a contest

I just can't imagine accepting nullification, obsolescence, destruction or even loss. 

To ACCEPT would require me to:

... to take or receive with approval or favor; or

... to agree or consent to; accede to; or

... to accommodate or reconcile oneself to; or

... to regard as true or sound; believe; or

... to regard as normal, suitable, or usual.

I cannot bend to the concept of combining accept with defeat. Not in any situation. It is not that I am unreasonably obstinate, intolerant, inflexible, or pig-headed (at least the majority of the time). (I acknowledge that I can be opinionated - but the Libra in me desperately tries find balance.) Rather, I attribute my disposition to the fact that in all arenas I have a tendency to bring my whole self with me. (Many times, to my detriment.) Whether the situation involves my children, my relationships, my profession, my avocations or my beliefs.  My whole self is brought to bear even in my approach to living with a chronic disease. In all of these I am present. With such a self - investment and the high stakes that attach when you are personally vested, I admit that accepting defeat is not in my genetic make up.

That is not to say that I am incapable of graciously embracing contrary situations, and the concomitant lessons that unpleasant circumstances offer. I am also not generally naive. I consider myself cynically optimistic. An an optimistic cynic I embrace such adages as: "evil can only triumph if good people do nothing:" [Edmund Burke] And dare to expand that ideal to encompass my further belief that people can do as much harm, if not more, by their overt negligence and inaction. For me, this view finds its way into all aspects of my life. To passively accept defeat and be a bystander is, in my little universe, tantamount to overt negligence. And, personally abhorrent to me.

Anyone who truly knows me would most likely agree that I am not one to accept defeat. Analyze it, scrutinize it, dissect it, challenge it, do everything to rise above it -- yes. But to meet defeat with approval or favor, agreement or consent, or to accede a bad or destructive situation as true or sound. No, I don't think I am capable of that.

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