Chapter 10: Fierceness
Our culture holds the illusion that there are only two ways to be: peaceful or violent. If you are peaceful, it’s not acceptable to stand up for yourself when someone crosses your boundaries. Peaceful people don’t rock the boat. Peaceful people obey authority. Peaceful people will go to any lengths to avoid conflict and appease those who are angry.
Your alternative is to be violent. Violent people aren’t nice. Violent people don’t respect the boundaries of others. Our society sometimes has a kind of sick worship of violent people, like ancient conquerors or CEOs who cut employee health plans to pad their own retirement funds. Violent people don’t necessarily cause physical harm, but they do whatever it takes to get their way, crushing whomever stands in their path. For ordinary people, however, it’s unacceptable to be violent.
This game is rigged! We’ve been offered the “choice” to go into either of these two boxes: the peaceful box or the violent box. The peaceful box sings of niceness, happiness, calmness; who would want to go into the violent box? Only bad people go in there. It’s a bait and switch. We choose the peaceful box, but the baggage that comes along is passivity, obedience, and complacency. We learn that it’s wrong to stand up for ourselves, and if we do, we’re often called mean, harsh, or cruel, and put into the violent box.
Luckily, there is a third box: fierceness.
…and here’s the rest: