When you think of being a champion, what comes to mind? Do you think of winning a competition or earning a title? Do you imagine being awarded a trophy or title and receiving the accolades of an adoring crowd? Let’s add two more words and see how the image of champion changes. When you think of being a champion for someone, what comes to mind? Where does the focus go? Who notices? What is the “win”?
At a recent workshop with educators, the focus of our discussions turned to the need of every child to have a champion who believes in them and provides the supports they need until they can believe in themselves. Many kids and teens have been so hurt by their experiences in the world that they react with anger and resist the efforts of those who try to help them. These young people seem to be determined to recreate the abandonment, rejection, and disillusionment that have been their experience in the world. Teachers spoke of their emotional stress as they try to create meaningful connections with these hurting youths and continually experience defiance, hostile resistance, and even volatile eruptions.
Consider the unspoken message in the response of one young man to his teacher when she tried to reach through his anger to let him know how much she cared: “Why should I? You’re just going to leave like all the others.” His experience was that no one stayed. Teachers didn’t stay. His parents were in jail. He had no one but his elderly grandma. When he pushed back against his teacher’s attempts to connect with him, he was trying to recreate what he had previously experienced. He needed someone to see him beyond his anger, through the bristling protective shield he had erected, to the young man reacting from a place of emotional pain and needing to be loved, crying out for someone to believe in him no matter what. He needed her to be his champion — to believe in him and to love him unconditionally until he could begin to love and believe in himself.
Who do you know that needs a champion? Who has a gruff, keep-everyone-away layer on the outside that hides the tender being inside? Who reacts and acts out because their life experiences have hurt them so much? Who needs someone to see beneath the layers of hurt and fear to who they really are? There are those who use words to cry out for help; there are even more whose actions and ways of being in the world express their need to be loved and for someone to truly see and believe in them. From a surface view, their actions and ways of being push people away, but look closer to find the beautiful being hidden beneath layers of self-protective anger and hostility. Bristles on the outside speak of broken trust and lack of hope on the inside. Anger and attack speak of inner hurt and disillusionment. Beneath whose protective layers can you see?
There are also those who don’t speak or act out to express their need for a champion. They suffer in quiet isolation. Don’t assume that because someone is alone that solitude is their desired state of being or that because someone doesn’t express their need that it doesn’t exist. Everyone needs someone to care, to truly see them and believe in them until they can love and believe in themselves.
Who do you know that needs a champion? Whose inner being do you sense in spite of external appearances? How might you show that you recognize the hidden cry for recognition and affirmation? How might you show that you see and care, in spite of what appears to push away, attack, or be self-sufficient? Whose cry to be seen and loved do you see or hear?
Think back to the young man’s words: “Why should I? You’re just going to leave like all the others.” His teacher tried to show she cared, and he reacted — not the way she hoped, but in a way that expressed his inner hurt. Can she recognize the underlying message and not give up? He will try to push away and recreate what he has experienced. Why should he trust? Why should he believe? But, if she holds onto her inner knowing about him and shows up every day to be his champion, in time, he will begin to let the protective walls down and let her in. In time, her belief in him will translate to his own ability to believe in himself. It won’t happen overnight just as his hurt wasn’t a one-time occurrence. He needs her to truly see him through the anger and hostility and to keep seeing him through the defences he has erected in self-protection. He needs her to be his champion until he can be his own.
If these words are resonating within you, you already know or sense someone who needs a champion. Will you be like so many others who have responded to what is visible on the outside and backed away, or will you be the one who can see through the outer expressions that seem to say “stay away” to the precious being who is crying out to truly be seen? Trust your inner knowing and be someone’s champion. Who will notice? The one who truly matters — the one whom you see. What is the “win”? Something beyond measure by the standards of the outer world — the opening and blossoming of one who has been hiding behind walls of hurt.
Be someone’s champion. Show that you understand the meaning of Namaste — the Divine light within me recognizes and honours the Divine light with you. Namaste, my dear sisters and brother. With great love, Linda.