There are several definitions of the word fierce. One meaning I found is to display an intense or ferocious aggressiveness, while another is to show a heartfelt and powerful intensity.
So different, right? How can the same word produce such distinctive meanings and possible outcomes?
Intense and aggressive versus heartfelt and powerful.
If I had to describe myself in various terms, I would say that, for the most part, I am a people-pleaser who will do pretty much all that I can to avoid confrontation. These adjectives aren’t necessarily traits that would coincide with a spirit of fierceness, would you say? On the surface, they simply don’t appear to go hand in hand.
Being a people-pleaser in my world means that I strive to flow with the current rather than stopping to adjust my sails in the opposite direction. It often means that while I might disagree with the way things are moving, I will swallow my pride in order to give others the satisfaction they're looking for.
And then when it comes to confrontation, my motto has always been this – pick your battles. That attitude, however, has often come at an expense. It’s like walking into battle without a shield; you run the risk of getting hurt and wounded from whatever you might encounter on the ground. It’s tiring and overwhelming and eventually, defeating. It’s choosing to lie down and succumb to the pain rather than to stand up, knowing deep down you can bravely, and courageously, move forward.
I have never been a fierce contender – intense and aggressive.
When I was in prison, I can’t even begin to describe the spectrum of people I came across. There were those who fought with fierceness; they battled for their personal space and long-lost freedom – freedom that, no matter how hard they tried, would never be returned to them - not confined within those four walls, at least. They built up tough, invisible, unbreakable shields around themselves, defying anyone to try and break through. If you happened to be unlucky enough to do so, you must suffer the consequences.
Fierce. Intense and aggressive.
Then there were the others; the ones who felt it all; every emotion and every attack like a dagger to the heart. These were the ones I would sit with and listen when they told me that the streets were more than they could bear. That alcohol and drugs were too powerful for them to turn their backs on. That they had no idea what it was like to be surrounded by a loving support system of family and friends. And that prison was a thing of paradise compared to being homeless.
Fierce. Heartfelt and powerful.
Listen, we can travel the journey any way we choose, but the way in which we carry ourselves will impact how we arrive at the end of the road. Broken and battered or whole and complete.
I desire to be bold, yet respectful. I want to stand up for my beliefs, yet remain humble. But more than anything, I hope to be fierce.
Heartfelt and powerful.
I’m up for the task. Are you?