I know how to fight with others.
I fight fair — always listening close, acknowledging good points, being willing to change my stance — and I fight fun, with kindness, wit and grace. Instead of trying to silence or erase, just pointing out what I see as error and demanding beliefs like mine, I offer new ways of seeing the issue, making connections that offer a different and more compassionate perspective.
This fighting may not be appreciated by many who don’t want to be challenged, but for those with a commitment to a journey of mastery, moving beyond twisted thoughts to integration, clarity and actualization, a good fight helps with growth and healing.
Every kid knows that those who won’t fight with you won’t fight for you, won’t help you face the myriad of fights that occur in every human life. It has long been the role of the coach, the shaman, the parent to help others build the skills to fight for themselves and what they value.
I always learn from fighting with others, as I have to make my own beliefs and understandings clear to them which makes them clear to me. I know that the good fight is a gift to them, to the universe, and to myself.
What I don’t have in my life is people who know how to fight with me. I crave someone who can make me say “Aha! That’s smart! I never thought of that!” or “Yes, I can see where I am stuck because you suggested a different view that offers a way out!” This kind of wit to get the jokes, affirm my truths and still offer leadership & hope escapes me.
Like so much of my life, starting with when I would hide in my room as a kid, this lack leaves me playing with myself. The solitary, hermetic life started early for me. As anyone who has travelled this path will tell you, going back into a society of that tends to knee-jerk, reactionary patterns, tightly holding onto old beliefs and settling for mediocrity is never easy or painless. I just know that at some point I will hit an old button, triggering a memory of buried upset and take the blame for exposing those suppressed feelings, though acting out or separation.
The solitary life requires you to take care of yourself, often locking you into a cycle of diminishing resources. You consume rather than being fed, nurse rather than healing. Fresh and fun become limited and lossy. There is a reason so many women look for good partners who can engage in a good fight.
I understand why others have issues with me. I have been doing the work for so long that I carry a history of knowledge, hard won awareness and deep understanding. This is a challenge to move beyond. Most people know the patterns they were handed and little more, never having had to become a concept-former, seeing beyond to asserting their own clear, examined beliefs.
Trying to find the expectations you were promised by asserting your unconsidered entitlements is comforting. Who doesn’t want an easy life where every fight is taken care of by inherited group beliefs? Someone who never found those beliefs, instead having to question everything by themselves, doubting even the most common assertions, well, they are just a squeaky wheel who needs to be ignored, right?
The journey to individuality is a journey through queerness, a demand to face differences and engage them. It requires going through our own hell to burn away the false and to accept the emerging truth.
Enjoying fights that repeat rituals, us versus them moments that vent frustration while affirming old assertions keeps old comforting patterns alive. Being open to fights that offer new challenges and demand we move beyond to change our beliefs destroys old patterns, instead opening our eyes, mind and heart to new and unfamiliar possibilities.
Those who value my fighting with them are those who value new awareness. They know how to laugh at surprising connections, know how to grow from different visions, know how to be affirmed in parts of themselves they have kept hidden. Seeing the conventional exposed to reveal something deeper keeps them growing, learning, healing.
It is that growing, learning, healing that I miss in my own life. I can tell stuck, and I can also understand that no conventional remedy will work; I have touched the ways I am extraordinary and need the wherewithal to make extraordinary leaps.
Discovering people who will engage in a good fight with you is a gift, even (or maybe especially) if it challenges your thinking, your beliefs and your choices. That kind of energetic and engaged presence can be like air for those struggling to breathe more deeply and fully.
Learning to fight myself, and through that process, learning to fight others with kindness and grace has been a key survival strategy in my own life. Though those fights I was able to find my own voice, able to learn how to observe those around me in a sharp way, able to learn compassion while standing up for myself.
Fighting alone, though, is lonely and limiting. I understand that, which is why I continue to fight with and for others.
Finding those who will fight with and for me, though, well, my parents sure couldn’t do it and I have overwhelmed many others over a lifetime.
I need a good, kind, enervating, encouraging fight. Bless me.