As a sensitive person do you ever feel fierce inside and think that those feelings are inconsistent with being sensitive?
Do those fierce feelings conflict with the empathetic part of you?
What Does it Mean To Be Fierce?
Fierceness is very natural. It occurs in nature all of the time. All you have to do is watch animals and they are fierce as naturally as they are relaxed. They act fiercely as easily as they eat and sleep.
In contemporary society, we do not see a lot of fierceness. We see aggression, we may see passion, but we do not talk about fierceness very much. So why all the confusion?
Aggression Vs. Fierceness
So often I hear people talk about fierceness and aggression as if they are the same thing. That does not resonate with me. I think they are different.
To me, aggressive and fierce are not the same thing because they come from different places. Aggression comes from ideas about life. It comes from the shoulds, coulds, woulds, oughts and other ways of defining life that really have nothing to do with life. Aggression comes from our desire for security – inner or outer. It results in nasty inner dialogues and mind games that drive us crazy. People sometimes act on the basis that the ideas are valid and therefore become aggressive in defending these ideas. All sorts of problems then ensue – some of them very expensive involving military hardware.
Aggression develops when we create a mental or cultural structure and then try to defend it. I think that inevitably where there is aggression there is a structure of some sort lurking whether it is a social role, identity structure, the dialogue of historical narrative, caste systems and the like.
As a result, aggression comes from the head.
What Is Fierceness?
What is fierceness and how is it different?
Fierce comes from the heart. Fierceness is the protective love of a mother bear from her cub. It shows up in whatever love we feel for our world and the creatures in it. It is not a small distinction – the difference between aggression and fierceness. To be fierce is important because our fierce heart-based love is the basis of good work, charity to one another, making good choices and the search for wisdom. It is the part of us that seeks to be a part of the good in the world and add to it. It is also the source of our passion.
Aggression is protective of the status quo. It has a preconceived agenda. It will seek order over health and wholeness. Aggression is at odds with the heart’s needs.
Fierce And Sensitive
To be both fierce and sensitive is not as incompatible as they may sound. Many sensitive people, myself included, often have fierce feelings. They may seem incompatible with our sensitive and empathetic natures but I don’t think they are. I think, however, that they can be hard to handle because we feel so many things so deeply.
Personally, I think that fierceness comes from a gentle place so it is very compatible with being sensitive. Even natural. I think it is worth embracing our fierceness. It is a sign that we are alive and awake, as painful as that may be sometimes. Natural fierceness arises from being present not from being threatened; being present is the only way to access our natural loving natures.
One of the ways you can tell the difference between fierceness and aggression is to ask if the feeling coming from defending a structure or affirming life. Then you know what is really going on. Fierceness in serving life tells us when structures need to change when they have become destructive or outlived their usefulness. We are right now seeing a rise in the fierceness of the global population in response to real threats to environmental sustainability. It is fierceness to embrace the need for greater sustainability; it is aggression to defend the status quo.
So embrace your fierceness mindfully. It is a life-supporting force that is worth cherishing and very compatible with being sensitive.