Be a Wise Warrior and Choose Your Battles Carefully

Self-demand and social and personal pressure can lead you to wear yourself out on a daily basis with matters that simply aren't worth it. However, the art of a good warrior is knowing when to fight and when to accept and reflect, or rest and recharge.
Be a Wise Warrior and Choose Your Battles Carefully
Andrea Pérez

Written and verified by the psychologist Andrea Pérez.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

On a daily basis, you’re subjected to many pressures, both in your personal life and your environment. You feel the huge weight on your shoulders of having to perform at work, be available to your friends, fulfill the role of mother, be a good lover and partner, do day-to-day chores, take care of yourself, look after your diet …. and all with a smile on your face. This can lead you to feel like you’re a warrior who never leaves the battlefront.

Not only do you make all the demands and ‘shoulds’ in your life your own, but you also add social demands to the mix. In fact, you also want to comply with your social values. This may mean that you make efforts to be class-conscious, use inclusive language, buy local products, use public transport, reuse packaging, buy nationally-made clothes, avoid plastics, turn down the heating, reduce your consumption of meat… the list goes on.

However, trying to meet all these personal and social demands can physically and emotionally exhaust you. It’s okay to fight, in fact, it’s necessary to do it, for yourself, for the rest of society, and for the planet, but you shouldn’t lose your head trying. Maybe, the heroine does sometimes fight all the bad guys on her own and comes out unscathed. But the wise warrior will choose which battles are worth fighting and which ones it’s better to retreat from.

Stressed woman, suggesting you should be a wise warrior and choose your battles carefully.
Trying to achieve everything is the result of self-demand and it results in physical and mental exhaustion.

Fallen warriors who overexert themselves

Naturally, you want and need to feel valuable in your daily life. You want to feel a sense of satisfaction when you do a good job. You don’t want to feel bad when you set boundaries for your children.

You’re trying to create a cleaner world and be more empathetic and tolerant and have balanced relationships. You want to add your own grain of sand to the building of the communal path. That said, sometimes, fighting so many battles affects your mental health. You become overexerted and exhausted due to your overinvolvement. This usually leads to personal feelings of frustration, anger, failure, and helplessness.

These emotions are just some of those that you might feel when you impose more responsibilities on yourself than you can physically and mentally take on.

The need to validate yourself in all struggles is also determined by the social pressure of your environment. Whether directly or indirectly, through your close environment or through social media, it seems that society is shouting at you that you must fight with all your might, all the time, against any enemy. You feel that you must bring out the best version of yourself or the heroine you carry inside yourself.

If you find you’re fighting so many battles at the same time that you have no energy for anything else, put your sword away. Ask yourself: is it up to you to change the world? Is it only you who you can save all the animals on the planet? Only you that can change the ideas of the company you work for? What’s the point of fighting so hard if you’re left powerless in the middle of the battle?

Perhaps it’s time to lower the level of your self-demand a little and understand that you need some rest time.

Be a wise warrior and accept that you can’t do everything

In long-distance races, frustration is a recurring feeling that can make you sink or swim. When your tolerance is low, it paralyzes you, makes you abandon your purpose, and blurs the values for which you were fighting. This means you may well end up abandoning them.

When you feel stuck in your life and frustration appears, you tend to want to get rid of it at any cost. Even if the price is your own welfare. Perhaps that’s why you prefer to wear yourself out rather than live with the frustration of stopping and resting. However, frustration doesn’t have to be negative, you can use it as a tool in your favor. Accept it and make it one more warrior in your army.

In order to take advantage of it, you must understand that not all your actions will have immediate results, nor will others always prioritize your internal world. Indeed, not everyone will be happy when you begin to prioritize your own well-being by setting healthy boundaries for relationships and plans.

You might try to explain it to others but they won’t understand. However, being able to live with the discomfort that can be generated by treating yourself as you’d treat others is part of the self-care process.

Woman with heart in hands
We can’t always achieve everything. This is perfectly normal, and accepting it forms part of our self-care.

 Choose your battle, focus on it, and relax

Just as nothing is written in stone about your specific tastes, neither is anything written about the priorities that you have to establish at different times in your life. At times, you’ll have to focus more on your career, at others, on your family or friends, and sometimes you’ll be able to simply focus on yourself. Perhaps the contribution you have to make in each battle will also change. Some will only require you to move a small grain of sand, while others may need you to move mountains.

If you’ve selected a worthwhile battle, focus on it. Try to find allies and make plans together. You must adopt a critical discourse, not only against the enemy but occasionally also against yourself. Match your actions to your values.

It’s not guaranteed that you’ll win the war, in fact, you’ll still have moments when you want to throw in the towel, and when you feel that your fight isn’t worth the effort. However, fighting from a solid and strong vantage point will allow you to defend your position from a firmer, safer, and more balanced standpoint.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ellis, A. (2006). Usted puede ser feliz. Terapia racional emotiva conductual para superar la ansiedad y la depresión. Paidós.
  • Neff, K. (2016). Sé amable contigo mismo: El arte de la compasión hacia uno mismo. Paidós.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.