Sunday Firesides: Despise Not the Thing That Would Save You

This Sunday we discuss the importance of not despising what could save you. You might be surprised to find that there is more than one way out of a situation, and sometimes it’s better to help yourself rather than wait for others.

A stag paused to drink in the heat of the day at a pool in the woods. He took a time to study himself from head to foot after seeing his reflection in the quiet waters. His majestic, wide-spreading antlers were admired for their form and size. However, he disapproved of his legs, which he thought were terribly spindly and feeble — an absolutely unfitting foundation to support such a gorgeous crown. 

At that same time, the deer heard a hunter approaching him from behind. He dashed away from his pursuers, his swift legs taking him safely away.

What is the moral of this reimagined Aesop’s fable? Do not scorn the thing that will rescue you.

We often lament our personal make-apparent up’s flaws, comparing them negatively with our greatest, most appealing features. What we don’t comprehend is that both the apparently beneficial and the seemingly unfavorable are part of the same bundle.

Assertive/callous. Bold/impatient. Tenacious/stubborn. Intuitive/oversensitive. Loyal/demanding. Patient/passive. Ebullient/forgetful. Carefree/uncommitted.  

Antlers/legs.

You can’t have one without the other; they’re two poles of the same energy spectrum, two portions of the same animal, the same inner stag, if you will. As a result, it’s pointless to celebrate the more admirable while bemoaning the less admirable. Each has the ability to save, both the beautiful and the unattractive.

This is, of course, a corollary to the notion of tolerating your loved one’s shortcomings as the opposite side of their virtues, which we already covered. One should strive to accept both sides of the personality coin in others… and in oneself.

For the qualities we despise in ourselves are often the precise ones that keep us alive.