One of our inner archetypal masculine voices – The King – deals with our personal authority. This inner force, which also shows up in dream images, appears as The Leader, Boss, Father, Chief or Supervisor.
We want our inner King to be organized, confident, level-headed, perceptive and benevolent. We want our ‘ruling’ energy to be encouraging, supportive and motivating. In his fullness, The King is centered and decisive, lives with integrity, protects his kingdom, provides order, blesses the lives of others, creates and inspires creativity, and leaves a legacy.
As with any archetype, there exist shadow sides. A too powerful King becomes The Tyrant who seeks to destroy and tear down. He works from a place of shoulds, oughts and musts. Situations are black and white, right or wrong, with only one clear way of doing things – “My way!” he demands.
A too weak King becomes The Weakling. Instead of taking control of our lives and decisively making decisions, we abdicate our throne to others by handing over power, responsibility and control to them. This appears when we let our mother or father make our decisions and when we kowtow to our boss’, partner’s or friends’ every whim.
Which type of King are you ruled by? Are we demanding, opinionated and critical of self and others; submissive and weak, not able to get a project off the ground; or, is our inner authority compassionate, supportive and protective?
For the most part, we are born with a benevolent King. However, if we find ourselves judgmental, critical and restricted by rules, or not able to take much ownership over situations, we need to question from whom did we learn such a voice?
Whose voice is this inner King’s – the one that puts us and others down, says ‘no’ and ‘don’t you dare,’ and sets down limiting and rigid rules? Look back upon previous sources of authority (e.g., mom, dad, church, society, work, and other institutions) for insights into where these governing rules originated.
As a mature adult, our task is to challenge both inner and outer voices of authority. Be mindful of the shoulds that are placed on others and self throughout the day. Change any should, ought, and must into “I wish,” “I want” or “I’d prefer.”
When asking for help from others, state the request without using the word should. Instead of saying, “You should put your dishes in the dishwasher,” one can say, “Please remember to put your dishes in the dishwasher.” In these cases it is about assertively asking for what we want in a less aggressive and condemning manner.
More importantly, question the actual validity of the should. Do I really ‘need to’ do the should? Again, ask – whose rule is this and do I consciously want to obey it? We may not have been able to stand up to our first King figure – however; we can now.