At one point in our lives or another, villains arise. Maybe that’s too broad a term or too over-arching, however individuals arrive into particular chapters of our life story who create drama, challenge, pain, terror, heart-ache, sadness, loss, grief, disappointment, you name it. The list can obviously go on. But once the offending role is understood, it’ll be easier to applaud their expert miscreant behavior, incredible role-playing, bad-acting and forgive their idiosyncratic performance.
If we compared our life story to a Shakespearean play, a villain or villains are characters whose evil actions are vitally important to the plot. Art mirrors life. Villains are essential ingredients for producing richly textured, colorful and emotionally enhancing lifetimes. We are stronger for them. In other words, the brilliance of their character is the illuminating subplot of our short lifetime. The difficulty arises primarily because we are too close to the storyline, reading our tale word for word. It’s only when we put the book down and analyze, meditate and observe the bigger allegorical gist, do the characters make sense.
I have an example from my own life, perhaps too close to my heart, however I will share. I have two sons. One now is 26, the other 23. Their father, whom I married for all the right reasons but have subsequently divorced, has always been overly hard on my elder son, criticizing him, never giving him the final approval, the push-me-here, the-pull-me-back there. It’s definitely the Zeus complex if you were to study Greek mythology archetypes. Honestly I’ve been so close to it at times I have become angry, sad, mad at myself for not choosing more wisely, and very protective of my son. However, with a new lens, a new viewpoint, which I just shared with my son, a healthier subplot emerges.
1. His dad ~ our villain in the subplot ~ set this up with him before they entered this life together, to push him, no matter what, into following his dreams and not follow in his footsteps.
2. My son’s task or challenge is to stand up for himself, neglecting his need for approval to do what is best for him, not his dad’s.
3. He became a physical trainer to be strong enough to handle the critical barrage coming from the dad, so that every hurdle, every barbed fence, every negative rope he has to climb to reach the pinnacle, he now has the physical, mental and emotional strength to achieve.
4. He now has the courage to expand his creative credentials because he’s had an adversary to push him by using the theory of opposition as motivation.
Through another lens, he will be healthier, happier, stronger and even more creative for following his heart, his dream and knowing he made it happen based on his inner drive, his perseverance, not his dad’s vision of his path.
Taking a look at the villains in your life, from the wretched mother, scum-ball ex-spouse, spastic self-absorbed boss, narcissistic lover, greedy sibling, mettlesome neighbor, abusive father, thieving business partner, dreary in-laws, brain-dead children, etc etc, from an observer’s perspective, changes the plot line. It’s offers the advantage of shining the spot light on everything you’ve gained and built, let go and forgiven, resolved and actualized. It also pinpoints areas of neglect where you’ve fallen into the trap of repetition and become like them. It gives you the adeptness and ingenuity to change Your autobiography, all because you chose to rewrite their role in your nonfiction, your version of reality.
I invite you to look at every one of these characters in your life-fable from the major players to the one-liners and recognize their amazing well-played performance to enhance your novella. You’ll soon discover there will be several acclaimed academy-award-best-bad-character honors to bestow. I can hear the applause.
Cosmic sunshine to you.