In life, it’s important to pick your battles. This is because some conflicts, disagreements or escalated arguments may not only be unnecessary, but becoming “the victor” may not be worth what it takes to get there.
For example, if you find that your boss at work is micromanaging you from time to time, you may raise the issue gently, but if it’s hardly a deep problem and more a reflection of their trying to be thorough in management, then this is something you can easily let go, even if you’re not too happy with it.
Moreover, if someone cuts you off in traffic, then honking your horn, expressing your dissatisfaction, and moving on is much healthier than getting into a prolonged argument on a busy road. If you want to report them, you can easily take their registration number and escalate the issue to the authorities.
As you can see, choosing your battles is not only wise, but it helps you avoid overextending yourself or wasting energy on issues that aren’t of paramount importance. Moreover, sometimes, the battle you would have to win is so exhausting and dangerous that it’s just not worth it. We can’t expect to correct and improve everyone we have an issue with in life.
With all that said, this attitude only makes your ability to defend yourself when it matters so important. Learning how and why to properly defend yourself in all circumstances in life can help you move through with a greater degree of self-respect, safety, and the confidence to call out bad behavior when it affects you or your loved ones.
For many people, this isn’t always an easy lesson to learn. Not everyone thrives in conflict, and that’s actually a positive character trait, but it does mean you may have to learn proportionality and how to go about things the right way to move through situations correctly. With that in mind, please consider some of the following advice:
It’s important to keep situational awareness no matter if you’re walking on the street, driving from place to place, or relaxing in a restaurant. It’s very easy to become hyperfocused on what’s in front of you, or to tune the rest of the world out.
Unfortunately, it’s a big, strange and unpredictable world out there. That’s not to say you have to be on guard all the time, or even often, but it’s good to be observant and to train your observance especially when you’re likely to become lazy with it.
For example, it might be that you often walk to work. There’s a larger sidewalk or pavement near a busy road. You might be walking against the direction of traffic, meaning you see them sooner. For all intents and purposes, you’re safe, acting like any wise pedestrian would. But what if a reckless driver veers from the road? As you can see, keeping an amber level of awareness, trying to be present and breathing properly so you stay calm can help you keep yourself composed during regular daily living.
It’s a shame that our schooling system places less emphasis on teaching the laws for the society we live under because many are unaware of their basic human and consumer rights. It’s also important to know what the laws are regarding property damage or any other crime that could be committed against you, so you can properly report it and escalate the issue when needed.
For example, talking to experienced car accident lawyers after you’ve been put in danger on the roads and even seen your car damaged can be essential, as well as defending yourself from false assertions given by the other side.
In addition, it’s important to exercise your rights and allowances. They have been curated and given to you over a long period of years, and hard-won. For example, making sure you defend yourself against improper termination from a job can help you gain the compensation you deserve, as can pressing your consumer rights if a company has committed fraud against you. With correct legal understanding (and not just an assumption of knowledge), you will have better tools for defending yourself.
Self-Defense & Effective Safety Planning
Now, it’s important to note that avoiding physical conflict is always the goal. All martial arts practitioners will teach you this as the very first step. It’s also important to note that learning a martial art or taking self-defense lessons is not something you invest in to challenge people or to throw your weight around, only that which helps you leave a bad situation as quickly and as safely as possible.
It’s unfortunate, but this is why so many people, both men, and women, can get much value out of learning martial arts or self-defense tools through licensed instructors. It’s great exercise, helps you meet great new people, teaches you respect and de-escalation techniques, and as a very last resort, can help you protect yourself in an unlikely conflict situation.
This, along with being smart about lifestyle habits such as traveling with someone, walking only on lit streets at night, letting people know where you are, keeping your car doors locked when driving, and again, being attentive, all of this is great for your safety, which is the foundational element of good health.
Be Careful With Your Time
Time is by far the most valuable resource that any of us have, which is why it’s so important to treat it with respect. But how does that relate to self-defense and protecting yourself in life? Well, if you can extract unnecessary time investments in habits or norms that harm you, you are actively uprooting difficulties from your life and moving forward with confidence.
Let’s use an example. It might be that you have a friendship group, but that friendship group seems to have deteriorated in terms of its support, care, and even respect to you or some other members. It can be exhausting to keep up with people who you think you need to be with tanks to obligation, which is why it can be so healthy to reconsider your time investments.
In some cases, detaching from toxic friends or simply reorienting to relationships you really want to cultivate can be difficult, and entail conflict. For instance, leaving a partner you feel is less healthy for you is not always easy. But in the long run, it can be so worth it. So – don’t be afraid to remain careful with your time. It can have a profound and lasting positive effect.
Set Essential Boundaries
It’s very easy for “therapy talk” to infect how you view the world, to overintellectualize everything and make it seem as though there’s a HR team following you at all times to verify you’re making right decisions and only communicating “correctly.”
But some of the concepts you may use are absolutely true and worth expressing. For example, setting boundaries where you need to in life, be that having the courage to say “no,” telling your partner when they need to be accountable and being so for them, and not being concerned with the dismissals of others if you know something to be right – like not inviting a problem relative to your wedding despite your parents suggesting this is cruel – boundaries will help you defend your priorities and remain unafraid to enact them.
As such, we hope this advice can help you take that first step in setting boundaries and considering a healthier path forward. It may be just what you need for success.