The monsters we face

A while ago I talked with some developer friends about dealing with an issue.  While we talked specifically on how to deal with the issue, the real fruit of this conversation was this analogy.

We are constantly faced to deal with monsters.  These monsters come about through our homes, our work, our relationships… through ourselves.  At the end of the day, we only have a few options to deal with them.  One way is to run away.  When the monster comes, it scares us and we can’t deal with it… so we run.  Another way to deal with a monster is to feed it and hope that it doesn’t eat you.  The monster is hopefully satisfied with the meal so it leaves you alone.  Another way to deal with a monster is to become it’s friend and understand it better.  Sometimes the monster isn’t actually after you… all it wants is a hug.  The last way to deal with a monster, and usually my recommendation, is to cut off it’s head and then light it’s body on fire as a message.

If we take the first approach (which could also be achieved through avoidance), it relies on the underlying assumption that if you run away it can’t catch you.  Or, for that matter, that it can’t find you.  Sometimes we run away from monsters by sticking our head in the ground.  While, in some cases, this is may work for a short period of time, I find that it’s fruit is short lived.  Monsters are fast and sneaky, they will find you.  Worse still, the monster could very well come from inside… so where do you run to get away from yourself?

The second approach relies on the underlying assumption that you can appease the monster by giving it something else.  While again in some cases this might work, there is also a reality that by feeding a monster it gets bigger.  As the monster gets bigger, it gets hungrier.  This means that it will take more and more work to keep feeding it.  As you do that, how much of yourself do you lose in order to feed it?  How many times do you say yes until you aren’t sure what you believe anymore?  Worse still, what happens when the monster is too big to be appeased?  What could you feed it then?

The third approach relies on the underlying assumption that your monster can be reasoned with.  By understanding the cause of why the monster is the monster I suppose one could make peace with it.  By becoming it’s friend, you might be able to influence it in a positive way.  (I think of the dream work movie “Monsters, inc.”)  There are instances in life where this approach is the most valuable of all of them.  When I look at the monsters within, this approach has more and more value.  But it’s also not always possible… so what then?

The last approach relies on the assumption that you can kill the monster in the first place.  It’s not always that straight forward.  However, maybe that isn’t even the point.  At some point you have to make a stand where you draw a line in the sand and fight for the things worth fighting for.  If you don’t stand up for anything… what is the point in living?  The tools we chose to do that with might not be swords, or spears or guns.  It might very well simply be with the word no.  It also might mean you have to retreat a bit to find your feet, or that you feed it long enough to trick it… but in the end the goal is to make a choice, right now, to face your monsters.

After that conversation (and discussed again tonight) it occurred to me that in a very real sense that even if you kill the monster it will come back.  I think of it like in the movie the matrix when Neo was fighting the agents.  Even if he killed the guy once, it came back again and again and again.  It’s false to believe that just because you defeated it once it couldn’t come back in the next breath for another round.  I believe that it’s always true that monsters will keep coming.  There are various monsters in my life that I have to face with every moment.  In my life, those monsters include things like; comfort, pride, ego, and callousness.  By knowing them, I can do things to mitigate their hunger entirely.  In other cases, I have to challenge them head on and remind them who is in charge.

What are yours?  Are you running away with clever justifications?  Are you feeding it and hoping one day it wont come?  Are you even aware of why it’s coming in the first place?  Or when it does come, are you making a very conscious decision to fight back?

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: