See the Good, Prepare for the Bad

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I get emails from people who see the world in a way that is different from my own nearly every day. Most of the emails are kind and I love hearing positive feedback, even from people who disagree with me. It gives me hope that much of what we see from the media is the outer fringe. The loud, the obnoxious, the extreme members of either side of our rather confused political and social climate are an embarrassment to either side.

And then sometimes I get an email that is dripping with a venomous in your face type of rudeness that is hard to excuse, ignore or explain. Having no interest in spreading this person’s name, I will only pass along the summary of their judgment against me.

According to this person, I am misleading people into thinking that the world is much more dangerous than it is, and instead of helping people, I actually make things worse by making people afraid. Then there was the tired old line about how we should focus on making sure that people feel loved and accepted as they are, and this will bring down violence in the world.

In all honesty, I wish that I could teach martial arts as a fun pastime and believe that there is no one in the world who wants to hurt anyone. I’m just not talented enough at lying to myself to ever follow that path.

I never try to scare people, and I don’t recall ever trying to make anyone think they are in more danger than they really are. In my active shooter classes and self-defense classes, I constantly remind students to look around at the world they live in, not the one they see on the evening news, in order to get a real clue as to how safe they really are.

Understanding the world you live in allows you to see and appreciate people as they are. The current popular trend is to look down upon anyone with a different political view from your own. But in my day to day life, I see people with different political philosophies who simply work together. When you are aware and awake to the real world, you can understand that opinions will be different regarding the overall best course, but that you can still be good to one another. Being aware and awake will also mean understanding that there are very bad people out there who do terrible things. But, they are the few, we are the many. Everyone has an option; prepare for the worst, or hope that the worst never happens. Personally, I do both. I never want to see the worst, but if it happens near me, I will face it knowing I have done everything in my power to be ready.

It is possible to see, acknowledge, and appreciate all of the good around you, while still being ready to dump barrels of undiluted hell on those who would harm your loved ones. Human nature is not an either/or issue. The people you know and love are not loving, while the people you hate are selfish. Everyone you know is both loving and selfish. That is the reality to come to grips with first. If you can understand that, then it becomes a small step to understand those different people will have varying degrees of this loving/selfish mix. With that understanding, it becomes a lot easier to see that the entire one-size-fits-all answer to personal safety is a pipe dream.

Don’t be paranoid and afraid of everything. Don’t think you live on Sesame Street. Train to protect yourself and the ones you love. Keep your eyes open and your head out of your apps so that you can see the good and the bad. Don’t pretend the bad cannot happen, but train yourself to see the good stuff around you too. Be nice as often as you can, and as tough as necessary. In the end, you will be happier and everyone around you will be too.

I hope this clarifies what I am trying to get across on this blog. I thank you for your continued readership, and remember that likes and shares are always appreciated!