M: I used to be afraid, until I got sick and tired of it. Then I got pissed.
KJ: Oh, pissed is just another version of powerless. Flip side of fear.
M: Defenestration says different.
KJ: No, it doesn’t. You can throw the guy out the window, but you haven’t won if he’s still in your head.
M: Uhhh out of sight out of mind?
KJ: Well, when he hits the pavement head first, he can exclaim, “Nothing like this ever entered my mind before!” But — still. If he’s still in your head, it doesn’t matter if he’s still breathing or not. He still has power that you don’t have.
There are self-defense instructors who tell people to get angry when it’s time to defend yourself. I sympathize and fully understand what these folks are trying to do. More than that, I think it is right to get angry sometimes. When someone behaves offensively toward you, be offended! Own your personal space. Own your body. Own your personal dignity and your freedom. All that. If you need to feel a white-hot, burning anger to work up toward defending yourself, go ahead and feel it. It’s your life, and your body, and your family who will mourn your death. Own that! Be angry that someone would dare to try to take that away from you!
And yet… in a lot of ways, burning anger isn’t as useful or as reliable as cold mathematics: “This person is trying to kill me. I will try to kill them right back, because I do not intend to die today.” That’s a valid response, too, and can be just as powerful. Or more. Better still, it does not give your assailant free rental space inside your own head. With good tools, good training, and confidence based in reality, you can do what you need to do without turning on the heat.
People working from a strong position don’t need to get angry. They might choose to go hot, to get angry, to use that anger as a tool — but they might just as well choose to go cold, to stay frosty, to put a touch of ice into their responses. And that’s good, too.