Are you a lover or a fighter?
If you believe this is asking if we choose forgiveness and acceptance, temperance and grace when facing adversity, you may see yourself as a lover. If you believe it is asking if we choose strength and fortitude, confidence and commitment when exposed to conflict, you may see yourself as a fighter.
Or do you see the question differently?
Like all archetypes, this is a metaphor for us to challenge the way we view our experiences. Do we choose to see a challenge as a learning experience or an obstacle? We must be both lovers and fighters, when the time is right.
Consider when you are in a new relationship. The experience is rich for potential contention and misunderstanding as you learn more about your partner. Remember, when you are in a relationship you are equals. As I wrote weeks ago…
…Acknowledge you both are on a journey together, as two souls. His or her values and interests, although in most cases are similar or the same, will differ slightly from yours. Be aware of those differences, and celebrate them with him or her.
There will be plenty loving and fighting as you grow together…or apart.
So, how do you fight? When you fight, you can let your emotions fly with involuntary reactions. You may take the boiled-over stress from the day and cast it upon your partner. You may be overly critical of your partner. You may assume intensions, which leads to petty grievances. But these approaches will lead to contempt, regret and not valuing your partner. Or…when you fight, you can control how you express your frustrations. You can focus on voicing your disappointment, even sternly, but always in a dialog. Although upset you are conscious not to hurt who you love, even if they inadvertently hurt you. Most of all, you allow growth during the conflict, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. If you ignore a problem and let it fester, it can rot the relationship and undermine it.
So, how do you love? Remember, we are either loving or fighting. When we do not fight, we love. How do you treat your partner, every day? How we love is a conscious choice, like a muscle we exercise to grow stronger. When you are with him or her, you can actively acknowledge your partner’s value, or be distant and assume your partner’s presence. You can count his or her wants equal to your own, or make most of the decisions for the both of you. You can enjoy the learning process of getting to know your partner, or not care about details. You can be giving and generous, or expect your partner to fulfill your emotional needs. And you can relish shared joy, knowing the happiest moments make the most impactful memories…or will you be remembered as being disinterested?
Whether we fight and love…no matter how angry we may be, or content we are in the moment…we must acknowledge the power of kindness, and its ability to breed further kindness. It has the profound ability to defuse and uplift, give value to those who feel unloved, and nurture a relationship.
We are both lovers and fighters. May we always be so, kindly.