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May 2, 2023

Self-Protect from Flies: it’s the Lion Lesson.

We have a right to protect ourselves.

It’s true that perception is reality.

And, for many of us, our perception is that we are weak, abused prey, with neither the ability, nor the inherent right, to protect ourselves.

“Even the lion, the king of the forest, protects himself against flies.”

African Proverb

Do we know what “even” means?”

The first word: “even.”

The word denotes being democratic, being inclusive, instead of exclusive.

If we picture a lion, often, we see the top of a power and majesty hierarchy. A lion is “King.” A lion has power, strength, authority, and beauty.

Those definitions can lull us into believing, therefore, the animal is, somehow, above the daily indignity of buzzing flies.

But go observe the animal in its habitat. Is this “big cat” immune from flies? Is there some nature forcefield, preventing insects from landing on the “king of the forest?”



It’s the life experiences.

Flies buzz around us all.

Do we know who we are?

Do we see ourselves as only being worthy to reside at the lowest point of the totem pole?

We don’t need to puff ourselves up to embody the most glorious lion.

Neither do we need to reduce ourselves to the slimiest garden slug.

It’s not one extreme or the other.

Our inherent value is more nuanced, detailed, unique, and realistic than that.

It is about discovering who we are.

It’s a lifelong, imperfect process. It follows a decision to embark on the process.

Who are we?

What defines us?

What makes us the beings we are?

Those beings also are not immune from flies. Flies are not representative of our “character flaws” or “sins.”

Flies represent the necessary life work each of us need to do as part of “self-care.”

What is our true self?

Who is our true self?

What is so special about that self that warrants fending off flies?

Do we know our intrinsic purpose?

What is the purpose of a lion?

Chances are, it’s not one single purpose for its existence.

The same can be said of us.

Multifaceted, multilayered, complicated, and important explanations of purpose exist and are valid. The numerous eras and stages of our lives reveal various significance purposes to us.

Like discovering our true identities, identifying, empowering, and honoring our purposes, it is also important to protect and manage, especially within the context of flies buzzing around us.

How will we handle flies, as we recognize our value?

Our important value requires us to handle them appropriately.

Do we know there are such things as flies?


Being sheltered.

Being abused.

Being traumatized.

Being boundary-less.

Having dysfunction normalized.

These are some of the things that keep us from learning about the existence of flies.

We often don’t know how to call out things for what they are.

And that can be made even more painful and complicated as we are overwhelmed by the reality that these flies are further weaponized against us.

When we’re being attacked, abused, and controlled, we can become so conditioned into believing that we are not being harmed.

Sometimes, we even believe the warped concept that these flies are “love.”

We need to name the flies as flies.

Real flies are dirty. They can spread disease, in some cases.

And they can, at the very least, be irritants.

Do we see the things we’re struggling with through the lenses of being like flies?

How about dangerous? Unhealthy? Life-threatening?

When we can see and name those flies in our lives for what they are, we can better work towards a healthier outcome.

Name and claim. Move forward from there.

Do we know we have permission to not allow these flies to invade and destroy us?

Once we name these suckers for what they are, we next have the choice to protect ourselves from them. No easy task.

Many of us have received the wrong, harmful message that we had no right to protect ourselves in the first place.

We were told, instead to “just take it.”

We were told “to forgive and forget.”

We were told to “just get over it.”

What these, and other statements like these, essentially conveyed to us was the refusal of permission.

We were not granted permission to protect ourselves. That was forbidden.

Toxic allegiance to an abusive situation, people pleasing, and avoiding ugly and inconvenient truth, all mandated that we do not look out for ourselves, for our health, for our safety.

Those things were not the priority.

Keeping harmful, selfish, toxic, and disordered agendas, however, were.

Therefore, our first attempts at permission and the action of protecting ourselves from these flies, will be awkward and met with resistance, even our own.

We can still feel we have no right to self-protect.

Flies are the best teacher.

It’s about value.

Self-protection is about the recognition and the prioritization of value. If something or someone is valuable, it’s worth protecting.

Flies are excellent teachers. They get us to focus on what is important in our lives.

Do we allow just anyone to treat us any way?

What’s a deal breaker?

What’s worthy of our time and our energy?

How can we keep our authenticity, integrity, and sense of self-respect?

Flies can help us answer those questions.

Pay attention to their buzzing.

Copyright © 2023 by Sheryle Cruse

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