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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

From Wonder Woman to Bruce Lee, or making a commitment to switch from warrior-mode to healed warrior-mode and why it matters so much

Who was your personal hero, when you were a child?
Who was the role model you absolutely looked up to?
Who did you want to become, as an adult?

I would like to be able to tell you that, when I was a child, my personal hero was Mother Teresa, or Florence Nightingale or Marie Curie. Or Karen Blixen, Coco Chanel or Amelia Earhart, if you are into something a little bit fancier.
And yet, my personal hero was actually... Wonder Woman.

Yep, you heard it right.
And it makes total sense if you think about it.

Wonder Woman aka Diana, Princess of the Amazons and daughter of Queen Hippolyta, is strong, intelligent, talented, resilient, gifted, brave, beautiful, generous, sexy, successful and incredibly badass.
Even more so now, while portrayed by an actress like Gal Gadot in the movies Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Zack Snyder),  Wonder Woman (2017, by Patty Jenkins: yay! so much looking forward to it, but I digress ^^) and Justice League (2017, Zack Snyder).

[Steel magnolia: a very classy, feminine and strong Wonder Woman
portrayed by Lynda Carter]

That said, "my" Wonder Woman will always be Lynda Carter, because I grew up while watching the classic TV series Wonder Woman (1975-1979) produced by Warner Bros. Television, a must-see during the Eighties and even during the Nineties.

As a young girl that was just "different" and used to be treated differently (and in most cases not in a nice and welcoming way) by most people around her, I loved that Wonder Woman was a warrior and not afraid of fighting back and/or getting her hands dirty if necessary.

We are all warriors, somehow. We all fight in life, sometimes, it doesn't matter if we are talking about real fights or metaphorical ones. I know for sure that I did. And that I spent a big chunk of my life while being always ready and prepared to go for it, if necessary.

And yet, I don't fight anymore. At least not in the way I was used to. I am now what I call a "healed warrior": someone that knows how to fight, that is able to do it, has all the necessary assets for being a good warrior (energy, bravery, temperament, intelligence, stamina, endurance, experience, sense of purpose) and that learned the hard way that fighting is a waste of time.

I can fight, I can argue, I can hold a discussion, I can be very assertive and strong and even pushy if necessary, and yet I don't do it anymore even if know that I can and I am not afraid of it.

Why? Exactly because I know that I can. And therefore I don't need it any longer.
Not because life became easier all of a sudden.
Not because everything is all right all the time.
Not because every human being I interact with is a saint.

I don't need to fight, even if I can do it well, because five years ago, after learning how to use nonviolent communication, I decided that I wanted to change my attitude and my focus in life. And in the last years, I went the extra mile for sticking to it. Even if sometimes I failed at it. Even if some days I don't really feel like it. Even if it's not always fun.

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.
Jonathan Kozol

Knowing which battles one should pick and being able to let go of the rest is such an important skill in life and it should be taught in school. A little bit less algebra and a little bit more emotional intelligence, please!

Being able to fight and to take care of oneself is important, don't get me wrong.
However, just before going into warrior-mode, ask yourself if the situation really matters to you and it's actually worth your time, energy, health, connection to other people. If it's going to matter in three, six, twelve months from now. If what's bothering you can really have a big impact in your life over time.
Will you barely think about the whole thing tomorrow? Just let go. Now.

[Ready to switch to warrior-mode?
Take a deep breath, think about the whole thing and then...
decide if it's a battle worth your time and energy, or not
Image source: Luis Royo]

Life is short, and being in warrior-mode all the time sucks.
And furthermore, it damages your health and causes wrinkles that let you look so much older...

Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world. 
Marianne Williamson

Most of the time, we fight because we are actually afraid of fighting and of conflict.
We are afraid that, if we don't do it now, the conflict will get worse over time and we will have to fight even more in the future. We get into the fight because of our thoughts about a situation, not because of the situation itself. We fight because of our perception, our ideas, our expectations, our biases, our past. Most of the time, the fight is not real, and the conflict is not real either.

What if our unique part to play in the healing of the world Marianne Williamsom is talking about would be talking about our struggles, our doubts, our fears, in order to make it possible for them to become real and to stop being just nameless and scary demons and ghosts in our minds, as soon as a conflict arises?

Let them become real in this way.
You can always fight against something real.
Fighting against a ghost, on the other hand, is usually very difficult, no matter what you saw so far in tons of movies of every genre.

[Fighting again ghosts?
If your second name is not Pacman... not so fun]

What if the bravest thing we could do today would be admitting that we are not that brave and that we are scared?
Not scared of fighting, but scared of letting go. Scared of looking inside of ourselves and acknowledging our thoughts, our fears, our dark sides. 
It would help us to eventually heal, and it would probably help the people we are talking to as well, because they could then feel safe around us, safe enough to let us know that they are scared as well, sometimes. Maybe for the same reasons, maybe for something completely different that would surprise you and me.

Conflict is the source of energy. The real problem is the casualties caused by misusing that energy - by failing to channel it into something productive.
Nate Regier

As Nate Regier says, conflict is not bad per se. It can become poisonous and dangerous if we let it. Otherwise, conflict is just energy that can be canalized and used for good things, like discovering a new perspective on a situation thanks to someone else, growing together with your interlocutor, having an authentic exchange of views.
Just imagine an impetuous river: its waters can create or destroy. It's just a matter of how they are going to be used.

[Bruce Lee was used to saying that one should...
be water. Yep, water, my friend!
Water can change, adapt, flow, crash and create]

Day in and day out, we can be healed warriors that work on being like water.
We can decide to see conflict as a chance to transform a not so pleasant situation into something useful and empowering we can learn a lot from while keeping calm and gaining perspective.
We can acknowledge our fears and our emotions before letting a situation escalate and go south.
We can decide that we could fight, but we will not. Not in a destructive way, at least. Not for putting ourselves and other people down.

Some days are good and we are all in and able to do it, some days not so much, but it's always worth a try.

And Wonder Woman? You may ask.
She is still very cool and still a role model for me. But now I prefer her when she is just Diana Prince and can show her vulnerability, at the right moment.

Tags: Wonder Woman, Role models, Being a warrior, Nonviolent Communication, Conflict, Quotes

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