So, I got punched in the face. (A 60-second read on addressing psycho-violence.)

November 12, 2012
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So, I got punched in the face.  No, I don’t mean that metaphorically.  My boxing partner and I were sparring, and boom!  Okay, it wasn’t hard, it was my fault for not ducking (I knew it was coming), and it was with a padded focus mitt, so it was really a non-event.  But at least I get to say it.

It also got me thinking about the times that I have been metaphorically punched in the face, and three lessons emerged from the experience for me:

Decide who’s at fault.  Often what seems to be an ugly attack from another is really our own Shadow being cast onto them.  Assessing the strike through this lens can be useful in developing strategies for rebounding from it.  It is also often the case that we represent someone else in the attacker’s complicated life-story, and the jabs are really meant for them, not for us.

See it coming.  My dad, originally from the Ozarks, has a rich repertoire of southern sayings chock-full of wisdom.  Two of my favorites are: “Don’t be surprised when a skunk stinks,” and “Never wrestle with a pig because you’ll both get dirty, and the pig will like it.”  Unfortunately, there are people who like to throw punches, but there’s no reason one has to scrap with them.  Developing your somatic knowledge (your visceral sixth sense), and learning to trust it, makes it much easier to anticipate the malice of others, and to know when to duck.

Was it a non-event?  Check the drama at the front door!  I know I have sometimes allowed pride to be the star of the show when I didn’t even need to raise the curtain.  I want to learn to take a punch, and then ask myself, “Is this really that big of deal, or can I just get over it?”

3 Responses to So, I got punched in the face. (A 60-second read on addressing psycho-violence.)

  1. November 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Love this line – I know I have sometimes allowed pride to be the star of the show when I didn’t even need to raise the curtain.

    So true for me too.

    Lynne

    • November 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Lynne, thanks for this. High praise indeed from a fellow (humble) wordsmith. –N

  2. Padmaja
    January 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Came at just the right time! Thanks Nathaniel! Very wise words

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Nathaniel is CEO of AidChild.org. He holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. He also holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership, and a Cordes Fellow at Opportunity Collaboration. Nathaniel is author of "We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life." Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership, Inc.

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