Neither reaction is healthy, is in our best interest. To retreat usually leads to viewing oneself as a failure and to putting whatever goal we had off our list. To view life as a constant battle creates a very negative energy disguised a positive one. It is wearing. And leads to endless frustration.
A wise person once wrote that if you view something as a problem, it will be a problem. This gets back to the habit-energy of labeling things as opposed to experiencing things directly, with dispassion. It is a question of attitude, which is central to our efforts to end our suffering.
If we open up our hearts to embrace all aspects of our being and experience (see my post, “The Heart’s Embrace”) then nothing offends. Then when we are faced with a situation, with a set of facts, we will view it with dispassion and will not react to it with emotion but respond with reason. This creates a much greater likelihood of our making a decision regarding how to proceed that will be beneficial to us. Emotions cloud our judgment, make it impossible to exercise good judgment.
If we view the situation with dispassion, we may even view the situation as an opportunity rather than a problem. As an opportunity to develop ourselves either spiritually or practically.
Even if we end up taking the same action, regardless how we approach the situation, the difference in attitude will have a profound difference on our psychic state and our stress levels. If we respond with a positive or neutral attitude, we will be at peace, not attached; if it happens great, if it doesn’t, that’s ok too. But if we react with emotion and view it as a problem, then we will experience constant stress and frustration.
Thankfully if we are aware, if we are walking the path with discipline, the choice is ours. We can either react to things as a problem or we can respond to things with dispassion.