CONFIDENCE as an Element of Survival
"Confidence is an essential element of self-preservation. You will fight for whom and what you deem valuable." -- Dr. Joy Allen
Like many others, I have had my fair share of self-esteem struggles throughout my lifetime. From both personal experiences and a ton of research, it's easy to conclude that low self-worth is also a predictor of self-destructive behavior. While not always obvious or even intentional, those who don't have a healthy sense of self-love and value tend to welcome toxic relationships, unfair business deals, sub-market salaries, and a host of other less-than-optimal situations. There's no surprise here, and no great revelation is needed to generally conclude that most people who don't fight for themselves simply don't believe they deserve it.
The first thing any abuser will attack is their victim's self-esteem. An emotionally or financially abusive person is counting on a victim who doesn't believe they can do better, achieve more, or receive true love. Again, the patterns are visible and obvious.
So, how does this correlate to firearms and training?
I've worked with literally thousands of women through ministry, business, and firearms training. Of course, my observations have been no different than those already discussed. Each time I counsel someone (mainly women) who desires more in any aspect of life, I ask about their current state and why they haven't been able to achieve some level of success. After all, the people I come in contact with are educated. They are "good people" who love God, work in the community, and give wherever there's a need. They are intelligent contributors to society. So, what's the missing piece? They just haven't yet been convinced that they deserve more.
In a society where the "American dream" is still perpetuated, so many people, especially those in under-represented or oppressed demographics, feel they must earn every benefit. Somehow, anything they are missing in life is interpreted as a personal failure rather than a systemic output. Everyone has a right to be respected, a right to be loved, a right to be safe, and a right to be defended! Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! Yet, the mindset shift required to materialize this creed in one's life is quite difficult for anyone who has been told, either through direct communication or subliminal culture and systemic prejudice, that they are not as "worthy" as others.
Self-preservation is multi-faceted. It includes investing in oneself and maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. It requires a willingness to stand up and fight when anyone or anything challenges any of these healthy states. Before someone will eat healthy and invest in working out, they must believe they deserve to be healthy. Before someone will reject unhealthy relationships and demands, learning to say "no", they must believe they are worthy of peace. Before someone will pray, they must understand they are worthy of God's love. And before someone will invest in a self-defense course, take a hand-to-hand combat class, or purchase a firearm, they must be convinced they are worthy to be defended! Your life, your freedom, and your happiness - they matter!
My approach has changed since I first vowed to provide education to those with restricted access to the information I can offer. With the founding of InHER Piece, I adopted a different approach. Before teaching any skill... before demonstrating how to negotiate a salary, start a business, count macros, study the Scriptures, or even shoot a gun, I convince each student or client of their importance. I prove to them their worth. I celebrate their contributions and remind them they are necessary! That's the key.
"It's not about the gun. A gun is just a tool. We are actually instilling confidence. When a woman has the confidence to know she's worth fighting for, and defending, she can accomplish anything!" -- Dr. Joy Allen, re: InHER Piece Ladies' Shooting Clubs