People who are living in control of themselves and their environment have no need to control or manipulate other people. They don't have the need to sabotage themselves or be a victim of life's circumstances, instead they live with grace, honor, a moral code and kindness.
But how do you achieve this when life has a habit of knocking the stuffing out of us because rarely do people live a life without encountering hardship..
When I was young my grandmother taught me a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, she being a feminist changed the pronoun to she
It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the girl who's worth while is the one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
After recent events in my own life I have become more aware how people deal with the catastrophes of life. What they allow to define them and define the way they live their life? I'm privileged in my work to meet many people. Often, I deal with things that are happening to them in this present sense and other times things from the past.
One thing that keeps coming up is victim vs street fighter.
In this piece, I'm using victim to show a behaviour which has stuck and become the person's identity. Their perceived lack of control which makes them feeling incapable. It
highlights a way of living that enables the person not to move on from an incident which deeply affected them. A dependency on others, thinking others have far more power than they do and keeps them living in the past.
Street fighter is to show a behaviour where the person chooses not to reflect and think about things before moving forward. Finding it difficult to trust others. Not dealing with an initial trauma and therefore repeating patterns. feeling that they can't rely on anyone having their back. Feeling that they are the only one capable of doing anything. Carrying too much responsibility. Self sufficiency to the detriment of forming emotional connections and they are always living in the future.
I wonder what allows us to think like a victim or as a street fighter. Both see the world as coming at them and their defense is either to accept, 'Well of course, I'm weak therefore they see me as an easy target' (victim) or to attack first, "Let them try it, I'll rip their head off before they get that close" (street fighter)
The art of living in control is to find a way to navigate life, accepting that everything changes and some changes are within our control and others are not. Grief can happen in a second; a phone call which changes your life forever, to the doctors prognosis, that time is limited. Stress which builds. Illness which strikes. Decisions that impact your life.
Do you choose to behave in victim mode or street fighter or is there an alternative?
I am reminded of the feeling of a peaceful warrior.
There is a book called 'The way of the peaceful warrior by Dan Millman', I haven't read it for many years so these are my own thoughts rather than taken from his words. They may correlate, they may not.
For me, peaceful warrior is someone who has trained themselves through the help of others to deal, accept and advance their learning with the view that every lesson learnt can help, enrich and be of service to others. Peaceful warrior conjures up Buddhist monks and gentle kindness. It feels safe. It feels like being in control and it is an art which takes practice to perfect.
So before we look at going off to train as Buddhist monks, perhaps there are ways in this world, lifetime, within our boundaries, which we can call upon this to help us deal with the world we are living in. Now, more than ever, are we in easy reach of finding people to help us. But what help do we need. Do we need support or help? Guidance or someone else to carry the load.
A victim will always look for someone else to do it all for them. A street fighter will accept no help but regardless of outcome carry on in their own independent way. A peaceful warrior will know that they are unlikely to know everything and instead ask for support and /or help and navigate their own journey.
If we are in control of ourselves, we can learn not to become battle weary and exhausted, sick in mind, body and spirit, but take control and navigate our own needs. We can stand with someone rather than depend on them. Need is not the same as dependency.
As a human, we need others. This does not and should not make us dependent on others.
Just to reiterate, being a victim is not the same as finding ourselves bewildered by life's events and having to ask for help or support. Finding ourselves leaning on others. Having to take a break from work. Finding it difficult to cope.
When things happen it's ok to take some time out, lick our wounds, sleep, cry, wail and beat the air. It's ok to be vulnerable, scared and realise we have been a victim in a twist of fate. It is what we do after that, that I'm writing about.
Staying in 'victim mode' is realising that we are using what has happened to us as a way to get out of doing anything, moving on, learning, growing. Being a victim is being stuck. It's abdicating our power, our self knowledge and our self reliance. We are refusing to accept ourselves.
If you feel that you have become a victim, that you are leaning on others, using events in your life as reasons why you haven't found the courage to move on, then stop and think about it. What power do you have by being incapable? Life isn't easy. Anyone who told you that it was, probably also told you that life was fair, they lied. Life isn't fair or easy. Its not supposed to be. Being a victim is just a behaviour that the world is a scary place.
Yes, it can be, but learn that you are more capable than you give yourself credit for. Time to learn to push yourself.
Find some role models that you think have navigated life and ask them how they've done it. Ask for advice.
If you are in street fighter mode, take a moment, is the world really coming at you? Do you need to be afraid? Yes, the world is a scary place. yes, the best form of defense is often attack.... when you're on a sports pitch. In life, sometimes there are other ways than getting your knuckles bloodied. Find ways to talk and ask from people you trust. Maybe you find communication difficult, learn to communicate. Learn to listen. Learn to take advice..
Trauma, grief, bereavement, fear, loneliness all take their toll. You don't need to carry the emotions with you. Once they've happened they can't be undone - remember you always have to take you with you. Wherever you go, you are always there. So face yourself. Face your emotions. Deal with them and find a way to accept them.
To stay in control is to recognise that to live a passionate life is to encounter grief in many ways. Staying in control is understanding that things, people and relationships change, sometimes though our own making and sometimes at the hands of others. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing. The only person you can totally rely on, the whole of your life, is yourself.
I don't buy into the ' you come into the world alone and you die alone.' I've given birth to two sons, I was most definitely there. They did not come into the world alone. Children who have been less privileged still did not come into the world alone - they were brought into the world with their mother and midwifes. How we choose to live our lives is our decision and ours alone, so if you want to say that this world is yours to choose, and yours alone, then I'll buy into that. No one has the power to dictate how you live your life and yet many will try. How do you choose to react and respond to it?
Victim - allow it.
Street fighter - battle it.
Peaceful warrior - take control of your own destiny
Questions to ask yourself
Am I stuck in the past?
Do I use a situation (bereavement, illness, job loss, divorce) as an excuse not to move forward?
Do I rely on others too much instead of doing things myself?
Do I feel it difficult to ask people for help and do I find it hard to let people help me?
Is it difficult for me to trust people?
What can you do?
To help yourself, regardless if you feel that your behaviour is one, or the other, but how to feel as a peaceful warrior would.
Learn to trust yourself and your capabilities. Write them down.
Ask people how they would describe you. Listen.
Sit with yourself and forgive yourself.
Let go of the past. It's not now. Accept that it happened. Accept the changes that you are now living with. Your life is different. It will never be as it was. Face it. If you've already discussed it with family/friends, and it hasn't helped, you move on and talk to a professional - they're trained to help you. You don't ever have to feel like you are going through it alone.
Allow people to know you. Learn to communicate.
If you're feeling stressed learn relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, crystals.
If you're stuck in a feeling of being incapable, do one thing today. Deal with one thing that you would normally ask someone else to do for you. Feel how capable you are.
Write it down and keep adding to it. Each day one thing is on your list that you do independently. You have two feet, stand on them.
And most of all, be your own cheerleader, be proud!
Crystals to support and nourish you.
Reflexology to get your feet ready to stand on and also relief if you are always standing. Also allowing someone else to care and nurture you in a loving boundaried way.
Reiki to help balance your energy.
Massage to relieve the weight of the world off your shoulders.
And before you think that I have it all sorted, I don't, but I'm learning.
I grew up as a street fighter. My capabilities bely my vulnerabilities.
To remind me to stay in control, and behave as a peaceful warrior would, with gentleness, kindness and compassion, I wear a ring that reminds me that, yes, I am an adult and I am capable. That regardless of what I face in life, I have control of my emotions and my life and that I'm loved and have people around me who I trust, rely on and I can call on.