While jumping on the trampoline with several older boys, my 3-year-old Zach bravely yelled, “It’s every man versus himself!”
One of the older boys quickly corrected him: “No, Zach, it’s every man for himself.”
Zach paused, then started jumping again and shouted, “It’s every man versus himself!”
It occurred to me as I listened to them that often our greatest battles are indeed within and “versus” ourselves. We battle insecurities, dilemmas and conflicting priorities and values. We are, at times, paralyzed by decision-making processes that lead to inaction and passivity. Or we can tire of the effort required in making thoughtful decisions and resort to impulsive and misguided living. We could all benefit in applying some of my three-year-old’s wisdom:
- Call it what it is. Maybe we need to yell it out, or simply acknowledge it quietly, but we need to be honest about the dilemmas that occur within us. (e.g., “I am lacking confidence, but I sense that taking this position could be a positive career move.”)
- Jump it out. The play and imagination of a young child is something we’d all do well to emulate. Jump on a trampoline, go for a walk or a run, or read a comic book- just be sure to carve out time for fun rather than taking yourself and your internal dilemmas so seriously.
- Stand by your truth. If you listen for the voices of correction and critique, you will hear them. Take them with a grain of salt. Listen and accept what is of value, and let the rest go. If you need to restate your perspective powerfully to clarify it, speak it out boldly and stand behind it.