All humans have an inner strength, an inner warrior, to help them persevere in the face of lifeʼs challenges. Our inner warrior helps us capture and defend. Along side our warrior is another persona – the inner healer – the compassionate and empathetic one who helps us help others through pain and suffering. We all have aspects of these personalities, genetically implanted in our very being, the result of millions of years surviving in a hostile world.
Your inner warrior comes in all shapes and sizes. Not just in stature . . . but in battle skill. Some people are adept at close quarters combat, which for millions of years meant hand to hand combat. Boxers and wrestlers come to mind but in the modern social world, just tackling someone will probably land you in jail facing assault charges. Hand to hand combat has been transformed and modern combatants rely on verbal skills and argumentative tactics to persuade and manipulate others. Eloquent people use rhetoric to make a point and the inarticulate use profanity to make a point. Another warrior style is the swordsman: thrust, parry, lunge, attack . . . counterattack . . . feint . . . attack. Swordsmen engage opponents at medium range; in board rooms, living rooms, office cubicles, and little league sidelines. They banter . . . moving, waiting, circling, deceiving, watching for an opening to strike. En garde! Archers wage battle from a distance. Instead of using a bowstring, modern archers use computers to send emails and memos instead of arrows. Some archers prefer to use blunt-tip arrows to wound while others prefer broad head tips to insure a quick kill. For the archer, more time is involved between volleys than in close range engagements, enabling archers to continually formulate new strategies. Another warrior style is that of the horseman. Riding as a lone warrior or as part of the cavalry, mobility is key. Striking across wide distances at great speed is a marked advantage. The modern “road warrior” parachutes into a dynamic situation, inflicts a new point-of-view within it and then rides off into the sunset, leaving everyone else to clean up. The most skilled warrior, however, is the wizard . . . the conjuror of policy. Able to alter the reality of a situation, or at least the perception of reality, the wizard is powerful indeed.
Are you a soldier or a commander? What weapons do you hold at your disposal? How strong are your shields? What is the depth of your armament? Are your tools sharp and well-maintained or dull and broken? Are you in shape for combat? Do you defend old fortresses or seek to acquire new territory? Do you rely on well rehearsed strategies or adapt new tactics as situations unfold?
Inside you is another powerful imaginary character, your inner healer. You have the ability to put broken or damaged things back together . . . to make them right, to forgive, to love. Because healing is vastly more difficult than warring, it is easier to fight than to address diverse points-of-view with understanding and compromise. Humans have a heightened sense of compassion compared to other animals. We bury our dead and help others who are less fortunate and struggling with life. We commiserate with our friends about relationships gone bad and business deals gone awry. We volunteer at church, at food banks, at homeless shelters. We give to charities and nonprofit groups. We help our kids with their homework and our aging parents with household chores.
Like warriors, healers come in many forms. The most obvious healers are nurses and doctors who restore the sick and wounded. Teachers are healers who strive to improve the behavior of individual students as well as the entire class. Counselors and therapists rely on their sensitivity to other people’s feelings to help guide patients to higher standards. Healers have a strong sense of right and wrong and are among the first to come to the aid of others. Healers have a strong sense of fair play, loyal to causes and people they believe in, and are highly aware of their current surroundings. Healers are therefore adaptable, flexible, and willing to change as long as their high ideals and deeply felt ethics are maintained. Healers follow their feelings and are filled with emotion, which is many times an echo of emotional memories. Healers see positive qualities that lie under the surface and, because they relate well to others, easily become a valued friend and confidant.
Were you aware that the warrior and healer persona represents the two largest annual expenditures of the United States? The cost of our national warrior is reflected in this year’s national budget of $732 billion for overseas defense and $43 billion for national security. Not to be outdone, the U.S. spent about $525 billion on welfare programs in 2010, another $1.3 trillion on Social Security programs and about $13 billion on foreign aid. Diverting one quarter of these expenses toward education, for example, all graduating high school students could attend Harvard, MIT or any other american learning institution on full ride scholarships. And, if the remaining expenses were applied to retire our national debt, it would take less than 8 years to become solvent.
How well do you know your inner self? Can you recognize your warrior aspects? How about your compassionate healer? Do you bulldoze or cooperate? Are you a taker or a giver? Do you strive for harmony or discord? How well do you balance your split persona?