According to Soulcraft (by Bill Plotkin), we develop 4 types of sub-personalities with our experiences in our lives –
- The Loyal Soldier
- The Wounded Child
- The Wild Child
- The Loving Parent
Today I’ll talk about the loyal soldier. A loyal soldier embodies our social, psychological and physical survival instincts when we are young, around the age since we were first exposed to the world, to enable us to deal with life on our own terms. A loyal soldier is an able and necessary ally to cope with incidents that scar our childhood, incidents that form a basis of lessons that our souls may have designed for us before it incarnated in our respective earthly vessels. This loyal soldier is quite obstinate and fierce when it comes to saving us and helps prevent any further damage to us – physical or emotional. This loyal soldier helps us become acceptable to people around us often at the cost of minimizing us, making us smaller, by subduing our natural emotions, exuberance, desires and wildness.
The problem with the loyal soldier occurs when we forget to embrace it, love it and by not asking it to lovingly mature as the realities of our own lives change along with our roles in society and surroundings. If the loyal soldier doesn’t grow along with us, it keeps deploying the same childhood survival strategies that are no longer required at stages of life when we are looking to bond and build relationships, learning to trust and love other people. It is then that the loyal soldier takes us on a path not chosen for and by our soul. It tames the wild child personality, never helping letting it out to the world, mostly crushing it. The wild child is the personality that is much closely tied to our soul and its path.
My loyal soldier took shape with many incidents, and I currently see him as a partner who often misguides me willfully. My loyal soldier helped me in the following ways by learning from all my childhood traumas –
- Saving my ego from all possible embarrassment by never letting me get into and avoid participation in events, gatherings, activities that would make me awkward.
- It made me distrust others, thereby making me more self reliant, thru thick and thin, and generally more responsible towards society.
Following are the ways, my loyal soldier now hurts me, now that my social surroundings have changed –
- I still save myself from getting into any activity that would make me awkward, although this behavior is gradually decreasing thereby helping me take more risks and in general, become more open to the universe and my creativity.
- I still find it incredibly difficult to trust others especially women as most of my embarrassments and betrayals have come at the hands of females.
- I have now become a woman-pleaser, who goes to incredibly far ends to make the women in my life happy often at the cost of my own happiness.
- As I fail to grow because of the mistakes above, I keep falling into loops of mistakes and their corrections, never truly taking a chance to change the observed patterns.
- I now realize that the growth of my loyal soldier is as stunted as my own growth because of the absence of a strong father/male figure in my life.
Bill Plotkin says that the best way to help your loyal soldier mature is to –
- Welcome him home as a Hero.
- Thank him a thousand times, deeply and sincerely, for his loyalty, courage and service.
- Tell them gently, repeatedly, that the war is over.
- And when he is ready, help him lovingly find his new role in your new life.
The first task though is to determine whether the war is indeed over. He says the war is over when you are no longer an emotionally abandoned child in a dysfunctional family, fending for yourself without the support of your loved ones or your psycho-spiritual resources. So, is my war over? I consider it is. Although I still feel like a child with no support from another human, leave alone my family, I have gathered some significant resources and expertise in them to help myself emotionally, physically and spiritually. In this particular sense, one of the strategies of my loyal soldier has already come into effect in my current life scenario and I thank him wholeheartedly for it.
The second step to help my loyal soldier is to surrender my old protective strategies and start being more authentic which I now do. It leads me to some emotional hurt but I am now blessed with resources using which I can learn my lessons more effectively and not fall into a rut.
The third step is to start identifying when the old destructive and disruptive strategies rear their ugly heads. Whenever they do, lovingly and repeatedly thank your loyal soldier for them and tell him that the war is indeed war and that he was incredibly skilled at using these strategies but you don’t need them any more and that they can be molded to reflect more maturity. This is the part that I am currently working on. Identifying the patterns that lead to even more patterns and cutting them off at their roots if possible.
So, who’s your loyal soldier?