Soon after we are weaned off breast milk, we find that as humans we are programmed to work for self-protection and preservation. By default, we discover and perfect various self-defense mechanisms, through trial and error, until we get it right. Some go with silence and privacy, shutting others out of their lives. Others stick with their rage and a foul temper to keep from showing their inner frailties; while some others will adopt a nasty attitude just to ensure that their “self-respect” isn’t trampled on.
We pick a lesson today from the popular Benin Kingdom in West Africa. Depending on which version you know, they say that nearly a thousand years ago, a warrior king and his people employed a brilliant strategy by building themselves a wall and a moat (a water-filled ditch) around their entire kingdom. So great was this strategy that by some records the wall and moat remain the longest on earth till this day. For centuries, their moat “swallowed” up their enemies and secured their lives and victories, for it worked like magic: if an enemy didn’t drown in the waters of the moat, they’d surely die on their climb up the wall. But in 1897, the inevitable happened. The moat proved to be inferior to the British firepower. The kingdom eventually fell to superior craftiness.
When we guard our fragile emotions with the wrong virtues, we only postpone the evil day. The attitude we use as a front may tell those a mile off to stay clear of messing with us, but eventually, someone more “crafty” will find their way through those barriers and still make a mess of our emotions. Develop a character that is rich in content. That way, you will have a strong conviction to back you through your every decision and interaction; and an emotional shield that is impermeable to evil, and resistant to heart break. You’ll find that a good character does more good than a wall and a moat…