Growing up, I thought it was so cool when people could “read” people and know what they were thinking or what they were going to do, before they did it. I believed it was all Hollywood special effects or a skill only super-secret CIA spies had. I didn’t know it was a skill all women are born with.
Have you heard,
“You need to be more aware of your surroundings!”
Which made you look at the person and say,
“Aware of what?”
“What am I looking for?”
“If I DO see something, what should I do?”
“And then what?”
“And then what?!?”
Throughout my life, I’ve had to take responsibility for my personal safety without consciously thinking about it. When I get asked what started my fascination with situational awareness, (basically asking if I’ve had something tragic happen to me), there isn’t one specific event. I’ve had lots of little situations where I knew something wasn’t right. Situations I’ve looked at differently because I’m a woman.
From an early age, girls are told all the things NOT to do, in order to avoid being a victim to the scary boogeyman, who will jump out of the bushes and hurt you. Stranger danger! But here’s what’s wrong with that message…
We tend to have this preconceived notion that an attacker will be a stranger and will dress a certain way. Ted Bundy was considered charming and attractive. He didn’t LOOK like a cold-hearted killer.
What I’ve realized is being situationally aware is simply looking at life skills you already have, in a different way.
Women have unbelievable intuition skills. We notice when a loved one is “off”. We feel the vibe or energy of a place. We have amazing instincts that help us take care of others. We’re traditionally raised to be kind, gentle, caring, and nurturing. We know EXACTLY what our kids need, even before they can talk.
We joke that the term “momma bear” is a sweet way of saying we would rip someone’s head off if they harmed our children or someone we cared about. Why is it so hard to use those skills to keep ourselves safe?
Because there are very few instructors out there who look like us, who have looked at life the same way as us, helping us see those skills in that way.
A great example I use is running outside. If I want to go for a run, I need to think about the time of day and if it’s a public or private route. I tell someone the route I plan to take, I think about what safety tools to carry, and I how I’m going to carry them. If I’m attacked, I need to consider how fast help can arrive. We can do everything to stay safe and still have some creeper try and mess with us.
My husband on the other hand, only has to decide if he wants to go for a run.
Have you taken a self-defense class? Was it with a male instructor? I’m not saying anything against male instructors! I’ve talked to lots of men in the self-defense industry who truly want to help women. But when they teach self-defense, they don’t have the life experiences women have and it can come across like man-splaining. They don’t realize the nuances we think about that have never crossed their mind.
Women are attacked every day. Not only by the boogeyman jumping out of the bushes, but by those we love and trust.
If we bring the conversation out in to the open, it brings light to things that really happen and the way they happen. We need to talk about the behaviors of PEOPLE in general, not just strangers. It doesn’t matter if it’s the stranger at the park or the creepy uncle, the red-flag behaviors are the same.
Have you read about a woman being attacked and mentally walked through what you would do if you were in the same situation? This isn’t victim blaming and saying, “she should have done this” or “she should have done that”. This is asking yourself, if that situation happened to me, what would I do?
Try practicing right now. What would you do if someone snuck up behind you and put you in a choke hold?
It’s uncomfortable to think about. Your heart might start beating faster, your palms might get sweaty, and you might hold your breath. I want you to do it anyway. Visualize kicking his shins, stomping on the top of his feet, elbowing his sides, biting his arm, scratching his face, poking his eyes, and anything else you could do to fight back.
Wouldn’t you rather go through all of that visualization in a safe environment, than freeze up in an actual attack?
Your body can’t go where your mind hasn’t. In a situation, every second counts. If you’ve mentally gone through a scenario, you will be able to respond quicker if it actually happens.
We all have fears. We feel it when we become first-time moms, in our careers, or in running our own businesses.
What if we changed the perspective on fear? If fear gets you to take action to improve your life, it’s a good thing. If fear of not being able to defend yourself gets to you be more aware of your surroundings, that’s a good thing. If fear of someone breaking into your home gets you to add motion lights to the exterior of your home, that’s a good thing.
I don’t want you to ever stop living the life you want to live, or go the places you want to go, because you don’t have confidence in your personal safety skills.
Learn how to keep yourself and your loved ones safer. Take a self-defense class, figure out what self-defense tool you feel comfortable carrying and actually carry it. If you don’t want to take an in-person class, find something online. If you have a question, you can email me any time.
Take the first step.
The Diamond Arrow Group exists to help women gain the confidence to move forward and live life on their own terms. I want all women to live their life, exactly the way they want to.
“Fear is your ally. She’s the caring messenger and supportive friend-and she’s always got your back.”