So, who is a warrior?
My last post generated some one on one discussion. In ancient times, it was easy to recognize a warrior. Skill and courage were the identifiers. Armor and weapons were the reward. A real warrior was honored for having the heart to do battle. I was reminded of this while talking to a friend about bullies, of all things. The root term of courage is cuer, a 14th century Latin term for heart. This means that in order to be a true warrior in one’s life, a person must approach each circumstance with heart. Recently, I’ve been studying a beautiful text on this very thing with a group of friends, and wouldn’t you know? It was about the courage to live from the heart. Fighting alone doesn’t take heart. Any angry animal can fight. But heart, yeah, that makes a warrior. Then, why does this seem easier said than done?
In continuing this conversation, my friend and I ventured into what it means to be a compassionate warrior and how that applies to how we treat ourselves. So, then, (of course) we found ourselves discussing bullies. They come in all types. There are intellectual, school yard, and employer bullies. There are lawyers, robo-call marketers, and anonymous phone call bullies. There are certainly political and religious bullies. The planet is full of them.
We were trying to determine what makes a person a bully, and we decided that intention is what makes a person a bully. The intent to dis-empower another person by fostering feelings of fear, weakness, shame, and unworthiness or to undermine another’s self-confidence and foster feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness makes a person a bully.
We continued to talk (it was long conversation), and I saw that we were barking up the wrong tree. The real question is not about bullies. The real question is: who is a warrior? And then my friend said something to give me pause: She said “A bully cannot bully without our permission.” By extension, this means that a warrior does not give her permission to be bullied. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
So, who is a warrior?
When I hung up the phone, I thought about this. I thought, “I am the compassionate warrior I’ve been waiting for.” Years ago, I received a “gift” in the form of a blessing written on a slip of paper. It was from someone I respected highly, and the word on the slip of paper was “warrior.” Later on, I received a gift from someone else that was a necklace made of Amazonite. This is a stone that is said to bolster self-confidence and self-worth. I was beginning to sense a strong message. While my teenage confrontation (see last post) was a beginning in being a compassionate warrior for myself, learning to live as a warrior is a life-long commitment.
In today’s world, the fighting turf has changed. Bullies are sophisticated, waving scriptural texts, law books, flags, and even job lay-offs as threats. All are designed to do one thing: foster feelings of fear, hopelessness, and unworthiness. We can take heart and treat ourselves compassionately; become compassionate warriors on our own behalf, shift with the turf, and fight with new rules. Rule number one: a bully cannot bully without our permission.
Take heart. Size ‘em up; take ‘em on.
I invite you to join the conversation. Stay well.