I saw a video a while back of a kid in school who was being picked on by another kid. After a bunch of verbal abuse and then some actual punches thrown by the bully, the victim had enough and picked the bully up and slammed him to the ground. I thought “yes, justice is served!”
I think we all have a tendency to want the bullies of the world get what they deserve. We want to see the victims rise up and knock them out.
But this is not the way. The feelings inside of us that long for justice and vengeance are not the only feelings we have in these situations.
I recently saw another video where a girl at a protest was yelling at, spitting on, and punching a group of people she strongly disagreed with.
They were not fighting back.
They had a plan to stand their ground for what they believed in, but obviously had decided ahead of time that returning violence was not the way.
I also saw this video and thought “yes, these guys are in control”.
So which is the best way to deal with people? Should we learn to return violence, or truly learn to fight so that we don’t have to?
Well, clearly there is not one single answer that applies to every situation. But I can offer a thought to keep in mind as we train our bodies and minds for situations that will come up?
Your object in a potential situation is to retain control. Control is not something purely physical. If you go physical and lose control mentally, you lose.
I watch both of those videos and think that the victim who threw the bully to the ground probably felt in control in that moment. But at some point, when the adrenaline high left, did he feel like he had lost control? Maybe.
The people in the video that got spit on and hit and did not fight back – did they ever slip into a feeling of losing control? Probably not.
So do I think that you should always stand there and take it? Nope. I do not believe that.
What I do think is that you should think ahead, and plan what you will say and do in potential situations. If you decide that you can deal with a confrontation by holding back, do that and feel good about it.
If you are faced with a battle of wills that has to be answered with a physical response, then you can take action and feel in control throughout.
If you decide that you should remain calm and not get physical, you will have a much easier time of it if you have practiced mindfulness and meditation.
I don’t know When you should and when you shouldn’t fight back. But I do know that if you stay in control, then you will usually make the right decision.