“Imagine a powerful river winding through hundreds, or even thousands of miles of countryside. It crosses varying terrains of forest, desert, and prairie, until reaching the sea. At its source, perhaps at the might rainforests of the Amazon, several small twigs drop from a branch, floating to the middle of the river. The twigs, although embraced by the mighty foaming water, become part of the river, as they are carried along…Imagine how absurd it would be if one of the twigs struggled to get out of the water and decided that it wanted to change the course of the river.
So, instead of floating downstream from the forest to the desert, it wanted the river’s course to flow back to the rainforest. If the twig were to fly into a furious fit and yell at the river for its indifference, it would be demonstrating normal human behavior when responding to the present moment. In its anger and resistance, it pushes at the river’s bank in a futile attempt to change its meandering course.
It is insanity of the highest order to become angry or resistant to something that already is.
When a person has a negative emotional reaction to an event or circumstance that has already happened, he can be said to be “pushing the river.”
Lisette Larkins, in “Difficult People”
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