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The ABC’s of Empowerment Self-Defense: The Letter K

The ABC’s of Empowerment Self-Defense

Self-defense is more than just how hard you can hit. It is the full spectrum of tools that you can use to protect yourself every single day. We utilize skills from self-defense in our decision-making processes, such as when we communicate with people, when we drive or do activities, and more! Self-defense is really so expansive that we thought we would give you a better idea of what to expect when you take a self-defense class with IMPACT by breaking it down for you ABC-style.

The Letter K: Know Yourself

“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”

- Mandy Hale

A few years ago, my best friend (who we’ll call Sara) was struggling with her self-worth and didn’t think that she was worth standing up for. She started therapy and early in her sessions, her therapist had her start changing her thought process: Sara would now think of me in her situation instead of herself. If a person was telling all Sara’s secrets to other people in an effort to isolate her, she would do nothing. But now what if that same person was telling all my secrets to isolate me from others, what would she do? Sara would tell me to stop talking to that person and that I don’t deserve isolation. I had done nothing wrong, and this person was abusing me and my trust. Then, she would apply that advice to herself.

This thought experiment was part of her starting to recognize her self-worth and realizing what made her feel safe and comfortable. Now, she is more likely to stand up for herself when people are mistreating her.

Part of setting boundaries with anyone is knowing what you want. Being honest with yourself in the moment so that you can figure out the best way to express that boundary. Knowing yourself also includes knowing what makes you feel safe vs unsafe, comfortable vs uncomfortable. You might not always be in your comfort zone, but you should always be in your safety zone. When trying something new, you might be pushed out of your comfort zone. But you shouldn’t feel unsafe.

In any relationship (platonic, familial, romantic, business, etc…), if you find yourself dreading an interaction, ask yourself why. What behaviors are making you uncomfortable or scared? How do those behaviors make you feel? Angry? Scared? Demeaned? Sad? Pinpointing how their actions are making you feel can help you address the issue. We teach a simple formula to help you get started on your journey of setting boundaries with people you know:

I feel (insert how you’re feeling)

When you (name the specific behavior)

I need you to (insert what you need).

This is the starting point for setting boundaries with people you know. Once you get more comfortable setting boundaries, you might not use the formula anymore.

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