On February 24th, 2022, Ukraine was attacked. Lithuania is among the other countries on Putin's list of invasion. I was scrolling the internet to understand what was going on and what I should do. Social media got filled with reposting news, images of war, opinions, and agitations about what everyone needs to do. I found myself in a state of shock. Should I join the fight, and if so, how? Would running away from the fight be considered cowardly?
What constitutes a meaningful fight during a crisis?
An analysis of the war psychology, philosophy, and warfare
By Inga Stasiulionyte
How will you inspire humanity today?
"I don't want to succumb to fear because that's how Putin wins. To prevail, we must remain alive and strong, excelling at what we do best," stated my client.
Fighting a meaningful fight
2. PURPOSE — Committing to the purpose of the fight
Seeing images of slaughter just a few hours away from my house made it difficult to focus on my regular work. The weight of guilt, stemming from not doing more, was crushing my soul. There was a prevailing sense that I should do something.

"You don't need to be in an army to be a hero," commented the Lithuanian Army when they saw an influx of subscriptions to join the army to fight a war in Ukraine. The worse is to be an emotional warrior Brigadier General H. R. McMaster, U.S. Army, explained:
"Fear can cause inaction or might lead to an overreaction that harms innocents and undermines the counterinsurgent's mission. Revenge-driven soldiers can break down the discipline of the unit and do significant damage to the mission and their fellow troopers."
The Lithuanian army advised that only those who had a desire to join the military before the war should do so.

We can witness a lot of panic-escalating and panic-caused behaviors in society now. All the screens are blasting with shaming, blaming, discriminating, segregating, alarming messages. People are exhausted by the pandemic, financial uncertainty, threatened by the war and survival. Many of us are emotionally on edge and exceptionally aggressive.
"The enemy seeks to place the onus of indiscriminate warfare on us by provoking overreactions, denying us positive contact with the population, and blaming his own murderous attacks on us. However, it is our duty to ensure ethical and moral conduct in this war. Today's wars are contests for the trust and allegiance of the people."
McMaster, Moral, Ethical, and Psychological Preparation of Soldiers and Unit
We feel disgusted, afraid, anxious, panicked, guilty, sick, helpless, enraged — these feelings show us that our bodies repel the sight of a war, and it is a good thing. It shows our humanity in us.

"How should we as a company support the Ukrainians?" CEO asked my client to deliver proposals. "I am trying to come up with ideas on how to help other people, meanwhile, I don't know how to help myself and my family," she answered in our session. As heightened anxiety may force us to overreact, we need to discover a sense of inner stability during a crisis.

The threat to our lives and freedom posed by the tyrant plunged us into panic and chaos. Attempting to grasp what actions to take, we found ourselves engulfed in a torrent of news and demands. We seek direction, yet everyone around us is also trapped in the same bewildering situation. Should we run, fight, plead, or wait and see?
Finding psychological stability starts with accepting the current situation. Only then can we discover the most effective path of action.

Seventy-seven years without a global war left us delusional, thinking that we had entered a perpetual era of peace. We forgot that peace is not achieved by avoiding conflict but by learning how to manage it. Overemphasis on happiness led to a superficial peace and fueled a cancel culture. Diversity of thought became condemned, and human fallibility became intolerable. Conversations on gender, race, health, and politics are turning into dead-end discussions with only black or white options. We find ourselves lacking education on how to progress our thoughts so that conflicts can lead to growth instead of division and destruction.
"The philosophy of war is an integral part of the philosophy of peace. The impossibility of self-realization by the new generations of a mental space in well-established material and virtual space, evokes aggression, "the desire to change the world", leads to violence, civil wars, revolutions. Mental spaces, rejecting the world of historical ideas on the territory of which they located, cause a potential conflict, the solution of which is possible only through the educational technologies or violence."
Oleg Bazaluk and Tamara Blazhevych, The Philosophy of War and Peace
Now, we are left to face the responsibility of our decisions and the consequences of our actions. Turning the fight into a personal and collective rebirth is key.
What are you fighting for?
The purpose of the fight is not to win, prove to be right, destroy the enemy, and become the hero.
"It is not your business to be right or to win arguments. It is not your business to find flaws in the other person's position. It is not your business to feel belittled if the other person wins. It is your business to facilitate whatever is happening, win or lose. Because we are all one, there are no sides to take."
John Heider, The Tao of Leadership
The purpose of the fight is to address conflicting ideas and values. We need to incorporate curiosity, acceptance, courage, and support when discussing opposing opinions. Curiosity is required to understand the complexity of the issue. Acceptance of our knowledge limitations must always be present; we will never be 100% certain, and we should not be. Courage is needed to take responsibility for the consequences of every decision we make. There will never be a perfect solution for anything, and we will always pay its price. However, by supporting each other in transformation, we can make better decisions than before.
"War is an educator towards freedom and self-determination, war is a prerequisite to enjoy happiness, an urge to consume the fullness of existence — not because it is valuable in itself, but because it confronts us with conditions under which we are forced to make decisions, to overcome hindrances, to surpass that what we already are or what we have reached. There is more at stake than a simple reversal of values. It is a self-overcoming to grow into more magnanimity, to more personal greatness — both in victory and in defeat."
Benjamin Biebuyck, On War and Warriors: Friedrich Nietzsche
3. PRESSURE — Managing aggression, ignorance, or the urge to please
In the war, we are not only trying to survive while bombs and bullets explode around us. There is an even more important fight simultaneously taking place within us. Taking control of managing our inner world is how we will navigate the outer world. Aggression, ignorance, or people-pleasing are signs of overwhelming fear.
"Stress is the physiological and neurological process that helps you deal with threats. Stress underlies worry, anxiety, fear, terror, all the variants of "Run away!" But it also underlies anger — irritation, annoyance, frustration, rage. And to a great extent, it underlies the shutdown that characterizes depression. Self-criticism is yet another form of stress. When we think, "I am an inadequate person!" That's like saying, "I am the threat!" Our body reacts to negative self-evaluations as if we are under attack. Experiencing ourselves as a threat that needs to be escaped (which is impossible), conquered (which is literally self-destructive), or avoided through shutdown (which is counterproductive, to say the least). And that's why we need self-compassion."
Emily and Amelia Nagoski, Burnout
By being more gentle with ourselves, we can be more aware of what is going on with us and respond to stressful situations in the most effective way.
    • Can you notice when you are acting driven by stress? What is your stress response? Do you tend to fight, ignore, run away, or please others?
    • What helped you before to manage stress? Could it be pausing to breathe, naming the feeling, or taking time to think?
    • What can you do now to reduce stress to a manageable level? Could it be by being more disciplined to exercise, healthy eating, more sleep, spending time in nature, less alcohol, reduced amount of news consumption?
    • Who could help you to feel more stability in stressful situations?
      What helps you the most to manage stress?
      4. PRECISION — Distinguishing where your fight is the most effective
      A chaotic, unpredictable, and uncertain world throws us out of balance into panic states. In special situations, we have an urge to do extraordinary things. However, doing new and additional things with uncontrollable adrenaline in our bodies has a greater chance of hurting ourselves and others. Unexamined actions with the best intentions to help could become extremely harmful. In a crisis, the decisions and efforts need to be as precise as possible. It is best not to do anything new. It is not the time to learn. It is time to perform what we are the best at, regain stability and power by focusing on what is familiar and in our control.
      "In fight use the guerrilla strategy. Never seek a fight. If it comes to you, yield; step back. It is far better to step back than to overstep yourself. Your strength is good intelligence: be aware of what is happening. Your weapon is not a weapon at all. It is the light of consciousness. Advance only where you encounter no resistance. If you make a point, do not cling to it. If you win, be gracious. The person who initiates the attack is off-center and easy thrown. Even so, have respect for any attacker. Never surrender your compassion or use your skill to harm another needlessly. In any event, the more conscious force will win."
      John Heider, The Tao of Leadership

        • What are your superpowers? Focusing on what you excel at is more than enough in a crisis.
        • What are your limits? Set clear boundaries for yourself and allow individuals with more experience in those areas to step in and lead.
        What is your most effective and significant role every day?
        5. PROBITY — Integrity of the fight
        Our actions need to align with our values, purpose, and skillsets more than ever in a crisis. The most powerful weapon we hold during the war is our humanity. In this fight, we are not alone, and we need each other.
        "Because our enemy is unscrupulous, some argue for a relaxation of ethical and moral standards and the use of force with less discrimination, because the ends — the defeat of the enemy — justify the means employed. To think this way would be a grave mistake. Moral and ethical conduct despite the brutality of this enemy will permit us to defeat enemies whose primary sources of strength are coercion and the stoking of hatreds based on ignorance."
        McMaster, Moral, Ethical, and Psychological Preparation of Soldiers and Unit

          Our influence on people is never neutral. We always affect each other positively or negatively. In these challenging times when everyone is on edge, even the smallest steps can make a significant difference. Being kinder to each other, more attentive, holding doors, and greeting with a smile, we strengthen each other's humanity to emerge as winners in this war.
          During the war, we are fighting two battles: outer and inner. Feeling a threat to our survival overwhelms us with a desire to isolate, ignore, and mistrust everything and everyone, seeing everything in black and white. We should not become our enemies. We have to take responsibility for our freedom through presence, purpose, pressure management, precision, and probity. Well-functioning countries, economies, communities, and citizens at the highest level are challenging to defeat by any threat.
          "Imagine that there are two kinds of courage. One is active courage that gets people killed. The other is inner courage that keeps people alive. Which of these two is better? No one can answer that for you. Each has its benefits and its drawbacks. How-things-happen is not the same as what-should-you-do. Instead of asking for advice, learn to become more conscious of what is actually happening. Then you will be able to see for yourself how things happen. You can make your own decisions about what to do. No one can tell you what to do. That is your freedom. That is your responsibility."
          John Heider, The Tao of Leadership

            1. PRESENCE - accepting that fighting is an integral part of the peace
            Are you open to challenge your beliefs?
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