人生之钥
Duality/二重性

Duality/二重性
生命中最美妙的一件事就是拥有一个好伙伴——你们一起享受由心而生的开怀大笑,一起品味轻松的友情,他是一个倾听者,一个你可以依靠的人,也是一位愿意牵你手的人。
真正的友谊,好比纯金,你可以很容易地定义它,因为它拥有最完美的平衡感,不为权力和地位所侵蚀,双方全心投入而非相互利用。
人类对于友情的渴望,有时是源自对孤独的恐惧和对安全感的需求。我们正是因为这两点才会变得脆弱,也让那些打着友谊的幌子却怀有不轨之心的人有机可乘。


有些人对别人友好,是因为他知道自己将会从中获利,这样的人还算不上恶劣。恶劣的是那些被嫉妒和愤恨充盈的人,他们通过贬低别人来抬高自己,任意践踏别人伸来的援助之手,通过施压来获得控制权,同样可恶的还有那些将自己的快乐建立于他人痛苦之上的人。
这些人常常把自己伪装成朋友,但实际上却是在暗中搞破坏,极其危险,我们最好避而远之。
因此,我们要注意这些迹象,警惕那些假冒的朋友,同时,也要双倍珍惜那些真正的友人。
我认识一个年轻的家庭,妻子是个不相信婚姻的人。她的父亲很难相处,经常辱骂家人;而她的母亲则常常挨打,饱受蹂躏。这个女人决心不让自己落得与母亲同样的下场,因此她总是试图控制自己的家庭和孩子,也时刻保持着警惕。
她的丈夫是一个很好的居家男人。他期望自己的家庭以及与孩子的关系能够像其他家庭一样正常,看着孩子们跟自己姓。作为家庭中的一分子,他看似分享家庭中的一切,但事实上,妻子可以随时锁上门,把丈夫赶出去,跟新欢出去散步或是把孩子归为己有。
我还认识一对恋人,男人是一个中年商人,女人是年轻的白领。他的第一段婚姻以离婚告终,这让他搭上了一大笔钱。他发誓,再也不让自己陷入如此不利的局面。
女人期待能有婚姻和家庭,但她的境遇却似地狱——男人的朋友们并不愿意接受她。男人的前妻也不许孩子见她。只要是去他家的时候,女人就小心地待在不被注意的角落里。她感觉,所有人都把她看成是下等人,一个不配做他的妻子、不配被爱的人。
这世界上一定还有很多类似的情况。就是有一些人,让自己默默地、甘心情愿地忍受一切痛苦。
我在20多岁的一年,碰到了一位久未谋面的儿时玩伴。“结婚的感觉怎么样?”喝了杯咖啡后,我问她。有好几年没见过了,听说她在毕业后不久就结婚了。
“完全不像外面吹捧的那样。”她的声音中带着一丝醒悟。当她把自己的脸低下去搅动咖啡时,泪水从她的眼睛里滑落,正好掉在杯中。
“他没有让我感到幸福。”她沮丧地说着,这让我十分惊讶,她曾对婚姻怀有少女式的憧憬,认为那是一生的祝福。“他呢?”我继续问道,“他的感觉如何?”
她面无表情地看着我,我继续试探地问:“他也不快乐吗?”她耸了耸肩。“你从来没跟他谈过这些吗?”我问。“没用的,”她不屑地答道,“他不是我想象的那种类型。”
这个女孩或许是太年轻,或是被宠坏了。每次思考两人关系之间横亘的鸿沟时,我总会想到这个女孩。在两个人之间,有时会有一道沟壑,一边是一方的期望,另一边则是无法满足这种期望的另一方。
该责怪哪一边呢?是那个设定了不切实际期望的人,还是另外一个不愿或者说是不能满足期望的人?
或许两边都有责任,他们都没能作出必要的让步和妥协。
有一天,在朗德斯通(Roundstone)的码头等船时,我遇到了有过几面之缘的一位作者。跟我在一块儿的是我的一个朋友,一个独自划着独木船环绕巴布亚新几内亚并沿途教授当地人英语的勇敢女子。
我们跟那位作者聊了聊,直到船来了要把我们送到一个离岸的小岛上。作者惊异地看了看我们,又看了看载我们的小船,“你们就坐这个去?”
“为什么不行呢?”我们不解地问他。他不可思议地摇了摇头,“这么一个小船,我觉得你们上不去。”
尽管当时被他这句话弄得我们士气极低,我俩还是像瞪羚般跳上了船。“怎么会这样?”我俩沮丧地问着对方,“我们怎么会变得这么无趣,两个中年的寒酸的人,在别人眼里就这么无趣吗?”
几个月后,我又遇见了那个作者。他又提到了上次我和我的朋友两个人挤进船上的那一幕。我被惹火了,回敬他道:“这有什么好奇怪的?”
他不好意思地笑道:“这就是我的问题所在,对船有恐怖症,如果我的生命只能依靠那样的小皮艇,我根本没办法克服自己的恐惧让自己进去。”
这件事让我再一次明白,人是多么容易只从自己的角度看问题,甚至忽略了他人也同样是站在自己角度的事实。
不管你是多么地平静或平和,仍旧可能遇到这样的情形:那些你找不到理由不喜欢的人却不知怎的变成了你的敌人。他们不顾一切地中伤和毁谤你,破坏你一直以来的努力,戳你的痛处。
与任何一个好人一样,对于这种意想不到的敌意,你可能会拼命回想,找到可能的原因——我曾经做了什么会让这个人如此愤怒?我得罪别人了吗?是不是我错过了一条重要的信息?你会尽可能地找到原因,并焦虑地要把事情掰正。
然而,如果你所犯下的错误仅仅是做了你自己并且还想煞费苦心地改变它,这并不容易。
总会有一些人,他们就是不喜欢你的样子,不喜欢你说话、微笑的方式。这些跟你的个性、是否做了错事或是有什么缺点都没有关系。往往是你最好的特质招来了人的厌烦。
有些人就是会对那些没招惹他的人生气,对那些比他好的人产生敌意。他们永远不会原谅你,而且还会期待着你受到惩罚。
如果下次你与这样的人发生口角,别为此郁闷,尽可能地逃走吧,并且别忘提醒自己,你不是那个有问题的人。


One of the best things in life is the offering of good company: ready laughter, easy camaraderie and, whenever needed, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold.
True friendship, worth its weight in gold, is easy to define in that it’s perfectly balanced, unaffected by privilege or position; both parties contributing to the best of their ability,and no one ever taking advantage.
The desire for friendship as an insurance against loneliness and isolation like any basic need makes us vulnerable, open to exploitation by those who use the cloak of friendship to hide a host of less honourable intentions.
Reasonably harmless are the kind who are friendly only when they stand to gain from it. Worse are those who, eaten by envy and resentment, raise themselves by lowering another, trample on one who extends a helping hand; gain control exerting insidious pressure; and delight in someone else’s degradation.
Such people often masquerade as friends, but, really, they are enemies out to destroy: Extremely dangerous – and best avoided.
So watch out for the signs: beware false friends, whilst at the same time doubling your appreciation of those who prove themselves true.
I know of a young family. The woman doesn’t believe in marriage. Her father was a difficult, abusive man; her mother brow-beaten, down-trodden. Determined not to risk ending up like her, she retains control of home and children.
Her partner is a good family man. He would dearly like to have legal rights to his own children, see them bear his name; be joint owner of the home they share. As it is, their mother could at any time lock the door, throw him out, walk off with a new lover, taking the children with her.
I know a couple: a middle-aged business-man and a younger, professional woman. His first marriage ended in divorce. It cost him a lot of money. Never again, he vows, will he put himself at such disadvantage.
His partner dreams of marriage and a family, but her reality is a long-term limbo. The man’s friends don’t quite accept her. The ex-wife won’t let the children meet her. Occasions with his family place her discreetly in the background. She feels they all regard her as inferior: the one not good enough, or loved enough, to be his wife.
There must be many similar scenarios, where the ones who, for reasons of their own, won’t commit themselves have it all their way; whilst those willing to give themselves freelysuffer in silence.
“How is married life?” I asked a childhood friend over a cup of coffee. We were in our mid-twenties; hadn’t seen each other for years. I’d heard she’d got married shortly after leaving school.
“Not all it’s cracked up to be.” There was no mistaking the disillusion in her voice. As she busied herself stirring her coffee, a tear fell from her eye, straight into the cup.
“He doesn’t make me happy,” she revealed despondently, surprising me, who had girlish illusions of marriage as a state of eternal bliss. “What about him?” I inquired. “How does he feel?”
Her reply was a blank look. I probed further: “Is he unhappy, too?” She shrugged. “Haven’t you talked to him about it?” “There’s no point,” she said dismissively. “He’s not what I had hoped for.”
The girl may have been young and spoilt, but I’ve thought of her often in terms of relationships thwarted as a gap opens up between the expectations of one party and the failure to deliver of the other.
Who of the parties is to blame? The one making excessive, unrealistic demands, or the one who won’t – or can’t – measure up?
Probably both, for failing to make the necessary compromises to meet halfway.
Waiting on the quay in Roundstone, I spotted an author whom I knew slightly. With me was a friend: an intrepid woman who had spent years of her life paddling a canoe round Papua New Guinea teaching English to the native population.
We chatted with him, until the craft arrived to take us away to an off-shore island. The author stared aghast from us to the rib. “You’re going off – in that?”
“Why ever not?” we asked, disconcerted. He shook his head incredulously. “I can’t see either of you getting into a boat like that.”
We leapt in like gazelles in front of him, though our morale was at an all-time low. “How did this happen?” we asked ourselves dejectedly. “How did we become so dull, middle-aged and frumpish, that other people can’t imagine us having a bit of fun?”
Months later, when I next met the author, he was still going on about the two of us setting off in the rib. Annoyed, I challenged him: “What was so strange about that?”
He smiled deprecatingly. “It’s just that I have a problem with boats. A kind of phobia. I wouldn’t get into one of those rubber dinghies if my life depended on it.”
And I noted, yet again, how easy it is to view things purely out of your own perspective, overlooking the fact that the other person is doing eactly the same.
No matter how placid and peaceful you are, it will occasionally happen that people you have no reason to dislike turn out to be your enemy. Go out of their way to spite and slander, sabotage your best efforts; injure where it hurts most.
Like any decent person, you will react to such unexplained hostility by searching deep into your memory to find the underlying reason. What could you have done to provoke such antagonism? Stepped on a tender toe? Missed an important message? You’ll be anxious to put things right.
That won’t be easy, however, if the crime of which you’re guilty is, simply, to be yourself: something you’d be at pains to alter.
There are people who will detest you for the way you look, or talk, or smile. Nothing to do with unpleasant characteristics, wrongdoings or shortcomings. Usually it is your very best qualities that are causing the annoyance.
People of the kind who take offence where no offence is meant also tend to cultivate hatred of anyone better adjusted. They’ll never forgive you and they’ll see to it that you’re punished.
When you next have a run-in with one of these, don’t let it upset you. Just run as fast as you can, taking care to remind yourself that you’re not the one with a problem.

 

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