The word fight, as a noun or verb, has so many connotations, so many different meanings and implications, it seems impossible to comprehend it out of context. One might fight off illness, or fight in a war, or fight back tears. One might fight in peace to promote minority’s rights, or fight off a rainy mood with upbeat music, or fight subtly against oppression through art or dance. You can fight for almost anything, can’t you? And in so many different ways.
There are a thousand reasons to fight, a thousand ways to fight, but there is one uniting factor that makes every fight the same–at some point there is a struggle.
Sometimes the struggle is more than one can bear. We break down, we cry, we give up on ourselves. We fall to pieces and it isn’t always possible to put them back together. Fighting for anything takes its toll, wears on nerves, and at times beats the spirit out of even the most determined of combatants.
But of course it can have its rewards. We win the battle and we enjoy peace, or happiness, or safety. We lick our wounds and count our scars and at times parade them around, the token of our victory. There is relief at the end of a long fight, if not also pride, and it is the hope for success that drives us to fight in the first place.
But why would we fight? What pushes us to hurt ourselves when we could just as easily sit back and let fate’s winds blow as they will? There are a billion reasons, of course.
Just look to our heroes. Some fight to save their homes or families or the lives of innocents. Some fight their way to freedom. Some fight because they have something to prove. They can’t sit back because they’ll lose something they care about. A lot of our heroes use violence and weapons to fight for their causes, but yet the most compelling battles are most often the ones that occur in their hearts. Battles of love, morality, or sacrifice.
I don’t know if it’s possible for someone to become a hero without having first fought a terrible battle. Heroes are noted for their bravery, strength, and virtue, but they can’t have these qualities without having faced fear, weakness, and corruption. For a hero’s journey, battles are necessary. They must prove themselves selfless and of valour before they can be truly respected.
And in each of our lives, we too must have faced a battle, I think, before we are noted as someone. We must fight against the bullies to become the schoolyard defender. We must fight off the doubters and the haters to become respected celebrities. We have to fight the urge to quit, to discredit ourselves, to sell our work short, to be a spectator, to procrastinate–all of those things if we are to live and be happy.
Good comes after we have struggled. After we have experienced hurt. Fighting is a necessary thing–oftentimes a good thing–but it is undoubtedly tiring, dispiriting, agonizing.
I’ve fought through stress many times in my academic career. I’ve fought through my own doubts and anxieties about relationships, writing, and obligations more times than I can count. I’ve had a few battles in my life and I can see the good that has come from them. But each time, I feel as though I was fighting for myself, so that I could be happy and do good. Which is funny, because it seems counter-intuitive to fight for yourself when the fighting is only hurting you.
I am admittedly an admirer of great battles and feats of strength. I have enormous respect for those who encounter hardships in their lives and are able to fight through them. I respect them because they are so strong, so brave, but also because I know how hard fighting can be. How much energy it can drain and how much unhappiness it can cause.
And so I hope that I may one day find the opportunity to fight for others. I feel like the fighting might be a little easier, if I’m doing it in defence of someone else, and that my strength and desire would be fiercer, knowing I was making sacrifices for the good of another.
I adore heroes who are able to endure the ultimate fight, the one that takes place within their own hearts, but I’m not so sure that’s the kind of hero I want to be. I want to employ my fortitude in a different manner, to inspire, encourage, or even save someone else, and pray only that if I must fight my own heart, it will be a fight I may overcome.
For the fights within our souls are the ones that build the most character.
What battles have you fought?
May you always bear strength to fight the necessary battles in your life.