I don’t like to fight. Yet, I think I’ve always bought into the notion that you have to have a fighter’s spirit in order to survive in this world. How could you not? It’s competitive, judgmental and seems intent upon breaking down our confidence until we’re happy and content when just the smallest of scraps are thrown our way.
But what if there was another way? What if we could force ourselves to see beyond the illusion and recapture the hope, energy and zest for life that we had as children? That would indeed put us back into the power position – a place where we could truly be the masters of our own destinies.
While I don’t like fighting, few would argue that creating the life of your dreams doesn’t feel like a battle. For this reason it only makes sense to heed the first rule of wartime – know your enemies. This knowledge is the sharpened sword that will help us to cut through the obstacles and reclaim our own power.
Here’s a look at the potent arsenal that places our dreams in jeopardy.
Doubt – Life has a way of playing on our fears. Without careful attention we can easily find ourselves falling into a quagmire of doubt that steals our energies, enthusiasm and focus.
Indecision – When things don’t come easily right off the bat, uncertainty creeps in. This halts the making of plans, seemingly keeping us content to stay stuck in circumstances that don’t fulfill us. Yes, it is easier to fail than to succeed because then we can just make excuses for why things didn’t work out for us, rather than take a chance and risk looking less than perfect.
Commonality – Since this scenario is common to all people, it’s easy to find others to whine and complain with. Yes, the communion with others feels good, but at what price? Using others as an example, we fall into mindless patterns of acceptability. Escapism falls into this category. The momentary numbness offered by alcohol or drugs holds the seductive allure of reprieve. It offers us an imaginary safety net – if we don’t care then we can’t be hurt or disappointed by anything. But we also lose our joy – and life loses its meaning. It’s a slippery slope that is enticing yet dangerous.
Labels – Likewise, where we enjoy the feeling of commiserating with others, it’s nice to know that were not alone and often happily accept labels in order to feel accepted. However, this is a costly anesthetic. To blend in takes away your ability to stand out – the way you were meant to. It is a compromise of your very nature in a vulnerable quest for simple belonging.
Personal Blindness – Ultimately, when faced with these opponents we begin to overlook and forget the special talents that we have each been given. This “amnesia” steers us farther and farther away from our own greatest self-expression – and consequently our ultimate purpose. We become just another struggling human, moving mindlessly throughout each day simply reacting to whatever comes our way, instead of being intentional about anything. Yet, somewhere deep inside, the longing for authentic expression still knocks upon the door of the psyche begging to be heard and given expression.
So with all of these enemies, how can we know whether we’re losing the imaginary war?
Through one tell-tale sign:
We lose our focus on gratitude.
The awareness of our blessings lies lifeless on the ground while our enemies take up camp in our minds.
A Strategy for Something Better
As I said, I don’t like the “fighting” analogy. In a way I think that even its existence is a tool of our enemies. In my early 40’s I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder which was described to me as “your own cells are constantly fighting – and have even begun to fight themselves.” Through seeing life as a war, I have created my own personal inner battleground, wreaking havoc on my mind and body 24/7 in an effort to simply survive. But perhaps there is another way.
Instead of focusing on the struggle
We can focus on the reward –
Just as it takes both negative and positive to create a spark, we can use this knowledge to reignite our own inner fire by refusing to see our human tendencies as their negatives – but instead assert their opposite positive values:
Diffuse doubt by having hope
Avoid indecision by devising a plan
Defy commonality by being brave
Resist labels by asserting our uniqueness
Curb blindness by acknowledging and expressing our specific talents
And, our greatest ally:
Acknowledge our blessings
(Instead of focusing on lack)
This new peace-loving way of being may take some getting used to – but I’m convinced that it holds the key to a healthier and happier life. While the world promotes fighting your way to the top, perhaps a more natural approach is to stop battling altogether and simply accept and appreciate ourselves and what we have to offer.
Some of the greatest minds of all time have already discovered this truth. When invited to attend an anti-war rally, Mother Teresa politely declined – not because she believed in war – but because she chose to focus on peace.
I, like her, am rethinking my stance on the fighting mentality. Instead,
I’m laying down my weapons, counting my blessings and simply showing up with good intentions.
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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2015 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.
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