Recently I stood up to someone that has been damaging me. I don’t usually do that. Once I had, I was essentially free of the damage, because there was nothing this person could do to hurt me anymore.
And yet I still feel like attacking them. I still find myself fighting them in my head. I still think of them as the enemy even though they are defeated.
I realize that, in this situation, as in so many others, I am the enemy, not that person I think I'm in conflict with. I’m the one making myself unhappy. I’m the one undermining myself now.
That puts the battle where it belongs, with myself. It also creates a problem.
How do I defeat me?
Attacking doesn’t work. If I attack me, I risk killing or subduing at least half of me, and possibly all of me. Defeating myself through attack is suicidal.
Running away doesn’t work. If I run away, I take me with me, and there is nowhere I can go where I won’t be. Running away is futile.
Ignoring doesn’t work. Half of me is always itching for a fight. Ignoring my bullies never stopped them from bullying me when I was a kid, and it won’t work on me either.
I can get next to myself and look in the same direction, rather than staring at myself and opposing myself. This is a great principle of martial arts, co-opting the momentum of the enemy to accomplish your purpose. If I am teaching a group of noisy children, and I want them to quiet down, I teach them a soft song and I get them to sing it with me, using their energy to accomplish my aims.
I can understand what I want to fight about and resolve it. If I discover what I’m angry about, then I can actually address it. Once the issue is resolved, there’s no fight left.
Most important, I can accept that I have a fighting side! I may be attacking myself because I don’t want to engage in a more necessary fight. There are lots of worthy battles available out there: a fight for recognition, a fight to earn a living, a fight to change the world.
So when I’m the enemy I don’t need to defeat myself at all. I need instead to make myself an ally, or better yet, to fully own my nature as a fighter. That’s a hard thing for me to do, but it’s worth fighting for.
News From a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books
I completed my newest album, Bitter Green, which I created for the RPM Challenge! To hear it, go to http://rpmchallenge.com/index.php/component/comprofiler/userprofile/adamcole?Itemid=108
Three features and an interview in the last two weeks.
You can see these and others on my press tab.
Adam Cole is a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books. Fantasy author, music educator and performer, Adam chats weekly on the subject of listening, creativity and living your best life. To take a quiz on what kind of music warrior you are, please visit www.mymusicfriend.net