I watched an episode of the TV show ‘Madam Secretary’ recently and was deeply moved. They addressed sex trafficking and date rape. While I don’t normally address such heavy topics here in this blog, a couple points made in the show are relevant for our daily life.
One of the characters in the show said he wanted to slay dragons rather than do battle in Congress over budgets. It got me to thinking about all the ways that we slay dragons (or don’t) in our typical week.
The theme that resonated with me was between the ways we slay dragons on the big global issues – climate change, making the world safe from terrorists, sustaining democracies abroad- and the dragon slaying that’s needed in everyday life.
The daughter in the show rebuked her brother for not speaking up when he heard two teen age guys talk about sexually exploiting his sister. The sister said when other guys remain silent, the abuse of women continues.
- Have you had to confront someone at work or in your family who makes a racist or misogynist comment?
- Will you pick up the sword and slay the norms that say it’s OK to demean others, or remain silent to that type of thinking?
- What scares you that you don’t want to address but know in your heart is damaging to your family, your work, your community?
The dragons that need to be slayed in our routine life are often the boundaries we create in our minds that keep us from doing the right thing.
Here are the numerous ways that you may need to confront, if not slay, a dragon that roars in your face:
- Speak your truth about your life experience
- Admit to making a mistake
- Own up to a lie you’ve told
- Be imperfect and accept your shortcomings
- Disappoint your parents or your friends by following your heart
- Confront a bully at work
- Challenge the status quo to make a necessary change
- Stay in the midst of uncertainty and wait for the right way to appear
- Walk into a room full of strangers and meet new people
- Call out some behavior of a good friend or co-worker that bothers you
Challenging the story in your head is the first practice activity to get good at dragon slaying. Your self-talk, the story you repeat in your mind, builds the beasts into being more ferocious than they may actually be. Other practices to do include:
>> Paying attention to your body when you tense up, feel stressed, feel your face flush.
>> Noticing when your inner voice says ‘I can’t change that’ or ‘I don’t want to deal with that’ and ask yourself why? Look at the fear honestly and confront the times you argue for your limitations.
Slaying the smaller, tamer fears that hold you back builds your confidence for the tougher fears.
Do something to push your comfort level a little each week to build up your abilities to address those people and situations that scare you.
P.S. If you are a parent and want your child to learn how to be a dragon slayer, learn how to coach from the sidelines. Let’s say your child needs to talk to a classmate or handle a challenging situation with a friend, talk through the ways your child could respond. Let them know you have faith in them and acknowledge that it can be scary to confront people. This helps build your child’s confidence to handle those tough life situations when they occur.
May the blessings of St. Michael support you in your duel with the dragons.
May the assistance of Ganesha- the remover of obstacles- help you have strength to do what you are called to do.Tags: Bravery, Confronting Sexism, Courage, Date Rape, sexual abuse, Violence against women