After schoolyard episodes of shouting and name-calling, often resulting in pulled hair and bloody noses, we have been taught not to fight. We should work out our issues with other people with our words and not our fists. Sure, it’s a great sentiment to use non-violent ways to defend ourselves, but what happens when we stop fighting altogether?
Plain and simple: we lose.
History shows us that fighting is what humans do. We have won wars, abolished social injustices, and overcome cancer because we believed we could and we fought like hell to make it happen. Even if we utilize the Gandhi-like nonviolent tactics of protests, boycotts, and sit-ins, nothing was every won by doing nothing. Look at Rosa Parks. Had she not refused to give up her seat on the bus, the Civil Rights Movement may not have begun when it did. It could have taken another fifty years before segregation ended.
That’s the thing about fighting… it is not always negative. And now a word from Katy Perry.
Greatness can result from a good battle. Now, the average person might never become the catalyst for a civil rights movement, but fighting for what you believe in could make a huge difference to you or someone you know.
Once upon a time, I worked in retail as a customer service manager. It was a thankless job and I am grateful everyday for resigning from that position. One day, I was working the service desk and was met by a man who wanted to exchange a brand new item. Unfortunately, his receipt had expired and I was unable to process the return. He was understandably upset, but I was not prepared for the verbal attack of a raised voice and profanities launched in my direction.
Like a kid being scolded by her parent, I just stood there and took it. I didn’t defend myself or demand to be treated with respect. With my name badge and uniform of corporate colors, I didn’t think I had the right to be assertive.
Luckily, another employee stepped in.
Even though I was his supervisor and should have been able to handle the situation on my own, he confronted this rude customer and demanded that I be spoken to in a respectful manner or it would be his pleasure to escort him from the store. To this day, I am so grateful that he came to my defense when I didn’t feel like I could defend myself. The next time a customer took their anger out on me, I was strong enough to stand up for myself.
A small fight is not the end of the world. It may feel that way at the time, especially if you don’t defend yourself or what you believe in, but in time, it will only be a blip in the history of your life. The times you stand your ground when something is important to you are going to give you the foundation you need to be a stronger person. You’ll never regret fighting for what you believe in, but you will regret not fighting for it.
It takes practice, but fighting for yourself is worth it. If you don’t stand your ground, you risk becoming a shell of the person you are, let alone the person you could be. So, release that battle cry, put your dukes up, and stand your ground. It is better to go down fighting than wish you had gotten into the ring.
Because in the end, if you don’t fight for yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to.