Last night I taught a self defense workshop. Now, that is nothing new, but what is new is that I had a epiphany.
I have said many times that the first step in learning self defense is to accept that you are worth defending. If you do not believe that basic premise, you will have a super hard time standing up for yourself. To me this is just plain and simple.
So, I handed my lovely unsuspecting students white El HaLev T-shirts and told them that they needed to write on the back of the shirt “I’m [blank]” and that the blank had to be positive. The group consisted of pairs of mom’s and daughters and their two social workers. Some of them wrote “I’m strong!” “I’m pretty!” “I’m independant!” and neither of the social workers wrote anything. I prodded them a little…… but nothing…..but a blush…..
Driving home I was thinking to myself, what is it about accepting that we are good at something that is embarrassing. I had done this exercise before with 6th grade girls and of course there were a bunch of them who wouldn’t do it but I figured….teenagers….. so I ran this past a few of my staff today and one of them said to me, “Oh, I wouldn’t do that.” “Why?” I asked. “Well, it is boastful” she answered. “What’s wrong with that?” That’s the real question. What is wrong with that!? What is wrong with being a little boastful.
A memory arises of the great question of how could Moses be the epitomy of humility when he himself writes that there will never be a greater prophet than Moses. The answer, and here I cannot give a source, other than to say I know there is one 🙂 , is that humility is not about what you are but rather knowing where it came from. Moses knew that his gifts were from G-d. I know that my gifts are from G-d. Therefore, saying I am smart isn’t boastful, it is acknowledging who I am. And so what if it is boastful! I think that there is a huge difference between acknowledging who you are, lifting yourself up and putting others down. That’s where being boastful can go bad. To me it is simple common sense that it is no ones job to believe in me more than I believe in myself. I am smart! I am capable! I am me!
Now, go get a white T-shirt. Put your “I’m [blank]!!!” on it and wear it for a day. Then tell me how it felt 🙂