Peace Partnership

How To Slay Your Dragons

Posted by on Mar 2, 2020

“That which you most want to find will be found where you least want to look.”[1]

Think About Your Thinking

Most people cruise through their days more-or-less on autopilot. If you take yourself off autopilot and begin to really think about what’s occupying your thoughts it can be eye-opening. Research psychologists call this metacognition, which simply means thinking about your thinking. If you can develop the skill of metacognition and become conscious of what you’re thinking about it will have a big payoff. Metacognition is especially important in stressful situations. You’ll immediately begin to notice repeated patterns of thinking and self-talk. You can reinforce the helpful patterns and interrupt the unhelpful ones.

This is important because there are certain thinking patterns (and behaviors that accompany those thinking patterns) that come easy to you. You’re really good at them. Some are positive, some aren’t. You’re fond of doing those activities because there’s a payoff for you. You don’t really know why you’re good at feeling and behaving certain ways, but because you’re good at them you find yourself doing them all the time. Before you know it, it’s your go-to behavior.

There are also things in your life you’re not good at. You’re a smart person so you’ve been lucky enough to identify areas of your life that need improvement.[2] The troublesome thinking patterns and problem behaviors you want to change about yourself are serious things. But you’ve tried to improve your life in those areas, and you’ve failed. A big part of the reason you keep failing is because you haven’t looked for an answer in the places you really, really don’t want to go.

Mind Your Personality Faults

Admitting – in a serious way – you have personality faults is hard. Paying attention to those negative personality traits is very difficult. But actually doing something about those traits is tantamount to wrestling a demon. When you wrestle this demon the first time, the probability that you’ll fail miserably is 99%. It’s okay. You fought it. Now you know what you’re up against and the next time you tangle with it there will only be a 98% chance you’ll get pulverized. Keep wrestling the demon. One day, the odds will tip in your favor and you’ll beat it.

Here’s another way of looking at it:

Let’s say there’s a recurring pattern in your life of people telling you that you’re an angry person.[3] Several coworkers, family members, and friends have pointed out your disagreeable disposition. You view most things in life as “me vs. you.” You take every opportunity to stand up for yourself and put people in their place. You never compromise because you believe compromising makes both parties losers. You have strong convictions about many things, and you’re proud of your strong convictions. Down deep you kinda like conflict – because you’re good at winning – and think that people who get taken advantage of aren’t as smart as you and should’ve seen it coming. Saying you’re sorry? How ‘bout no. That’s for sissies.

If you’re going to be gut-level honest with yourself, you regard being agreeable as absolutely terrible. Being courteous and compliant just feels wrong. It’s not just that you’re not good at being considerate (you know how to be nice), it’s that it feels wrong in every part of your being. It makes you feel weak, powerless and inferior, and you hate those feelings.

Let’s also say that you have three adult children in their 20’s and early 30’s. But because your go-to emotion is anger, they’ve all basically disowned you. They spend time with you, but not because they really want to. You call, but they won’t answer (surprise, surprise, that makes you mad). The last time you saw your youngest was over a year ago. You want a relationship with your kids, but on the rare occasions they will talk with you, things always end in an explosive argument. You tell yourself that it’s not your fault and that your kids need to grow up – they just need to learn how to have adult conversations and handle strong personalities.

Here’s my advice:

If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s where you haven’t gone that you’ll have to go if you really want to change. If you want a relationship with them, you’ll have to do all the things you hate. You’ll have to compromise. You’re going to have to learn to feel weak, powerless and inferior. (Of course you won’t actually be weak, powerless and inferior, but it will definitely feel like it to you.) You’ll have to apologize – probably a lot – and really mean it. It may even feel like your kids have taken advantage of you at times. (It’s okay. If you’re wiser and more mature than them that’s to be expected, right?) That’s where you’ll have to go if you’re going to have a meaningful relationship with your kids.

Dragons & Gold[4]

This idea that I keep referring to that what you most want to find will be found where you least want to look is woven throughout the tales of dragons and gold. Dragons are giant, flying creatures that breathe fire and live underground. They’re very, very wise and incredibly violent. They will kill you in a second and not think twice about it. They live forever, and can only die if they are killed. Dragons are the most terrifying creatures of the mythical world.

But dragons hoard gold. So if you want the gold, it will cost you. You’ll have to travel far from home, and may have to spend much of your life on a conquest to find it. It will be difficult. Many people will tell you they know where the dragon hides its gold and they’ll tell you where, if you pay them for the information. You’ll need to figure out who’s telling you the truth and who’s lying to you. Eventually, you may find a guide who’s telling the truth and they will lead you to the dragon’s lair. But the most dangerous part of your journey has only begun! As you enter the lair you can hear the dragon. At first sight of the monster you realize it’s much worse than you thought it would be. A single missing coin will stir the monster’s furious anger against you, and you will have to kill it to quell its wrath. But you’ve made up your mind: you want the gold and you’ve come too far to turn back now. You’ve made your choice and now you’re going to have to fight the dragon.

The tale of dragons and gold is representative of your place in the world: if you’re going to grow and transform yourself (get the gold), you’ll have to go out into the world and confront it (fight the dragon), if you’re going to discover what your life can be. It’s very scary. To make matters worse, the probability that you’ll “get the gold” in life is very low because it will be intensely dangerous. The dragon won’t be defeated easily and once it gets a taste for you it will hound you relentlessly. But if you want the gold, you’ll have to spend some length of time in a terrible place fighting a terrible monster. Fighting the dragon will push you to your limit, but if it didn’t you wouldn’t gain any real value from the experience.

You don’t get one without the other.

You won’t get the gold without the dragon.

What you most want to find will be found where you least want to look.

_____________________
[1] A quote from famous psychologist Dr. Carl Jung. Like many brilliant people, Dr. Jung said some incredibly illuminating things and some that were completely crazy. For example, he also once said that “he could hear the sound of one hand clapping.” And his “mind once took in the wonderous no-sound of holy oneness, the empty echo of eternal bliss, and he was never the same.” Whaaat?… umm… right… sure Carl, whatever you say bro. My point in starting an article with the quote of a controversial figure is this: learn how to unearth wisdom. You can learn good things from bad people and bad things from good people. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Genius without an education is like silver in the mine.”

[2] If you’re unlucky, you’ll never find anything in your life of real value that needs to change. Think of individual changes like goals: where each change you want to make equals a goal. But be careful! The purpose of a goal isn’t to attain the goal, it’s who you become on the way to attaining the goal. The fact that some people never find the courage to openly express areas of their lives that need to change is an illuminating commentary on their lives. Simply put, some people won’t admit they need to make changes because they cannot find a way to free themselves from the chains of shame.

[3] People with anger issues nearly always believe any negative information about themselves is wrong. They’re selfish. They value certainty and control over the love and connection of the relationship. Regardless of gender, situation, personality type, or depth of relationship, you’re wrong and they’re right. End of discussion. Nanner-nanner boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo.

[4] This section has been adapted from a lecture series Dr. Jordan Peterson gave in 2017 entitled, Maps of Meaning. The first in the series can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV16NEWld8Q.


It’s not too late to get your KC Mavericks tickets and join us on Sunday, March 15, 2020. Then hang around after for the live Jersey Auction. Peace Partnership will receive 100% of all proceeds from tickets purchased at the above link and the jersey auction to help at-risk children and families. Players will be rocking special Paw Patrol jerseys in this Sunday matinee game, along with wiener dog races between periods. The puck drops at 4:05 p.m.

This March, Jersey Mike’s will again join forces with customers for their 10th Annual Month of Giving to raise money for hundreds of charities coast to coast in 31 days. The month of fundraising will culminate on Wednesday, March 25, with Jersey Mike’s nationwide “Day of Giving.” Last year, they raised a record-breaking $7.3 million+ for 200 charities nationwide. Because of your generosity, Peace Partnership received almost $16,500. We are honored to be one of those charities! Join us at the Blue Springs store for Jersey Mike’s Subs Month of Giving to benefit Peace Partnership.

JOIN US AT ANY OF OUR THREE GIVING DATES BELOW:

Tuesday, March 3
15% of day’s sales donated

Tuesday, March 17
15% of day’s sales donated

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25 – 100% OF DAY’S SALES DONATED
Pre-order your lunch today for Wednesday, March 25 when 100% of the cost of your order will be donated to Peace Partnership. Click here to order online.


During the month of MARCH, Stewardship Capital is matching gifts up to $1,000. Double your gift by giving March 1st-31st here!


We are GROWING…
Expansion Update!

We need your help. Construction has begun and your participation in our growth is essential. We still need to raise $25,000 to hit 100% of our goal. Please prayerfully consider a generous financial gift to help us reach our final goal within the next 60 days.

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Thank you to the following Expansion Campaign donors:

  • The Cooper Group, we are so grateful for your generous first-time gift to help secure our forever home.
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  • Craig Rookstool, thank you for your continued partnership during Giving Tuesday.
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