I’d like to clarify a popular misconception about a important system of conflict resolution referred to long ago as “turning the other cheek” today, that you might be more effective in the living of your life henceforth. Many have assumed that turning the other cheek means letting an affront go without addressing it. This belief is only half correct.
The first half of the definition “letting an affront go” is the first step in a two part process. The second step in the process is “so that you can address it with the full force of your being.” Turning the other cheek is an active, dynamic process which sets the stage for the best possible resolution of any conflict you might encounter in life.
There are two ways to deal with an affront, or any criticism for that matter: you can either take offense or you can go on the offensive (but not in the usual sense). The best offense is one that is rooted in the core of you, in your being as opposed to the human part of you. The human part of you – your body, mind and heart – when rooted with the being part of you – can go on the offensive without being offensive.
The mind on its own, particularly when compelled by a troubled heart, resorts to cheap tricks. It draws on tactics such as retaliation, withdrawal, disdain, dismissiveness in an effort to bolster the fact that its acting out on its own – without the balancing and ennobling factors which flow from the wellspring of the soul. This is the reason why people feel justified in throwing the baby out with the bathwater when constructive criticism is poorly delivered. They say “I don’t like how he said that to me” or “who does he think he is to say that to me” and let themselves off on a technicality rather than seeing past the affront and meeting the criticism with the full force of their being.
As with so many things in life, on this point it’s all or nothing. Half-measures are insufficient to ensure a successful outcome. What’s worse is that they tend to complicate things. Make your life easy. Go al the way with this one and truly turn the other cheek when it is your turn to do so.