Your Achilles Heel
Long, long ago, in ancient Greece, there was a baby boy called Achilles who had a doting but fearful mother. She was a classic example of an over-protective parent. In fact, she was determined little Achilles would live forever. To ensure this, she took him to the River Styx and immersed him in it, which was what mothers did in those days if they wanted their kids to be immortal.
The trouble was she didn’t completely immerse him. She held onto his left heel to accomplish the task. This left heel remained dry, leaving it vulnerable. Legend has it that Achilles died when an arrow struck his left heel, the only spot on his body that wasn’t immortal.
What is the moral of this story?
Perhaps it’s that mothers should make sure they immerse their babies completely in the River Styx, or that Greek warriors shouldn’t wear sandals when they go to war. If Achilles had been wearing a decent pair of army boots when he was warring, he’d be with us still, leading tourists around the Acropolis and giving directions to the River Styx to overanxious twenty-first century mothers.
Legends like this one survive thousands of years because they contain a message or warning for all human beings, whether they’re ancient Greeks or modern folk. The timeless message of this legend is that it’s our weaknesses that cause us problems.
It’s a human tendency to ignore weaknesses, but they trail about us like a smokey mist, impeding our progress, never leaving us alone.
Impatience. Shyness. Fear. Procrastination. Anger. Stubbornness. [Add yours here.]
These weaknesses make us vulnerable.
How to Get Rid of a Weakness
A simple way to eliminate a weakness is to replace it with its opposite.
For example, don’t try to get rid of impatience. That will make you even more impatient. Instead, replace it with patience.
You’re stuck in traffic. You bang the steering wheel. Curse red traffic lights. Grind your teeth. Then you try not to be so impatient. You get angry at yourself for being impatient. You’re still banging the steering wheel – not because you’re stuck in a long stream of cars but because you’re angry with yourself for being impatient. Now you’re battling impatience and anger, and it’s only 7.30 in the morning!
Next time an Achilles Heel weakness like impatience raises its head (or should I say heel in this context?), replace it with its opposite – patience. Let impatience fall away. Let it exit the car through the exhaust pipe. Embrace patience. Let it swirl around you like light. Let it emanate from you with the next breath you take. And the next breath. And the next.
Just let go of a weakness.
And embrace its opposite.
With love, Marlane