I recently returned from a visit with my mother and our family, after not having seen my mom, aunts and cousins in nearly 17 years. As we sat there reminiscing, I recalled how I spent most of my school-age years getting picked on, bullied, and beat up. My mother said that she never realized that so many people were hitting me, because I hardly ever talked about it. Well, it wasn’t exactly something I was proud of. I was even less proud of the fact that, whenever I got hit, I rarely hit back.
More often that not, I chose flight over fight. I’d either cry until they stopped, or I’d walk or run away. I never had anyone teach me how to take a punch, so usually after I got punched once, I was done. And it always hurt. And I didn’t like pain. It never occurred to me that as long as I was gonna hurt anyway, I should try to give as good (or bad) as I was getting. Sure I would have gotten some lumps, but they’d be badges of honor, not shame. I probably would have gotten more respect out of the deal, in the long run. The neighborhoods I grew up in were rough; I needed to be rougher.
These days, I’m still non-confrontational, but if a conflict arises, I now realize it’s not in my best interest to back down. I won’t start a fight, but I sure will be quick to end it.