Put up your dukes!

Published April 15, 2013 by Vida Caramela

IMG_0008Strive for peace, but put your dukes up!  Can you do both?  While it may seem difficult, there are people who can, and some are very skilled at it. Of course, I’me using “dukes” (fists) metaphorically here for defenses. But, as with fists, if you walk around with your defenses up all of the time, you are likely to frighten away a lot of people. This will probably include both bullies and potential friends. So that’s not a good idea. When it comes to putting your dukes up, timing is everything. If you’re good at it you can sense an attack coming, and get your dukes up in a flash. This action usually prevents an attack from ever happening. When an attack has occurred, having your dukes up allows you to block your attacker’s blows, and to strike back if necessary. There are some people who are very good at this. I have had the distinct privilege of knowing a few. I’m talking about masters at “swimming with sharks”(See my post “Coping With a Brand New Breed of Shark!”). It’s hard to imagine if you have never seen one of these skillful individuals in action, but I’m here to tell you, they do exist, and are worth studying. They are living proof that you don’t have to be a bully to defeat a bully. You can defend yourself and still demonstrate a spirit that draws respect and admiration from those around you (eventually, sometimes even from the bully). I don’t know whether this ability is inborn or if it comes from years of tweaking and practice, but I’m willing to learn from those who have it . Here are some things I have noticed they have in common:

  • They have good self esteem. They believe that they deserve respect
  • They don’t beg others for acceptance, they embrace it when it comes
  • They don’t show fear. They never cower, hang their heads or tuck their tails
  • They are willing to stand up for others besides themselves
  • They are friendly, and helpful, so they have back-up when needed
  • They anticipate an attack,  and are always prepared.
  • They meet an attack with an immediate response. (usually not an emotional one)
  • They are proactive and take steps to avoid or combat future attacks

If you are not a pro, and decide to try some of the things I’ve mentioned above, be careful NOT to make the following mistakes:

  • Confuse arrogance with self esteem
  • Scoff at the need for acceptance, and have an I don’t need anyone attitude
  • Get up in the bully’s face or stage a showdown
  • Take sides with those who are clearly in the wrong
  • Go around complaining to everyone you meet
  • Confuse anticipation with being paranoid
  • Respond emotionally. Lash out at the bully in anger
  • Play your entire hand at once, or eliminate the element of surprise

These are more likely to get you in deeper trouble than to help you survive.

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