Is violence sparked by insecurity? If so, is confidence an antidote?
In an episode of FBI: Most Wanted a young mother lost her 2-year-old daughter to foster care when he husband left the child alone to get a drug fix. Roughly 20 years later she was about to lose her son to a 20-year prison sentence while the person who initiated the crime was given 5 months probation. She responded by buying a gun and shooting her son’s attorney who was looking for a quick resolution of her son’s case.
I am not condoning her response, but it is understandable from the vantage point of insecurity. In two separate instances, despite her best efforts she had lost her daughter whom she was never able to locate and was losing a son who previously had never been in trouble with the law. Despite the fact that she had been diligent and focused on providing the right environment for her kids, she felt her life spinning out of control.
We see similar behaviors in people who’ve been bullied, who’ve been abused as children, who feel that people of other nationalities taking their jobs or that people of other religions are trying to take away their rights to their beliefs, or worse yet, “poisoning” their youth.
The common element in all of these beliefs is insecurity…the belief that the person is losing control of their lives, that their lives (beliefs) are under attack. While I’m certain that there are other reasons for violence, this is the one that I see play out most often in news reports. To me, it’s what motivates terrorists, school shooters and hate groups.
The question then is “Can confidence be an antidote to violence spawned by insecurity?
To answer that question, let’s look at the characteristics of confident people. Confident people tend to:
- Experience less fear and anxiety than insecure people do. They realize that they’ve been able to deal with anything that comes their way and are confident that they will continue to do so.
- Be other-centric. They genuinely care about the welfare of others. In part that’s because they experience less fear and anxiety. It’s also because they feel fortunate and want to share their good fortune with others. When we experience abundance, our natural tendency is to share.
- Less angry because confident people realize that even when others say or do things that are hurtful it’s typically because the person is trying to deflect the pain they’re experiencing.
- Less violent because they experience anger less frequently and less severely.
- Alleviate others’ pain instead of fueling their pain. It’s another aspect of being other-centric.
- Diffuse tense situations. They see potential solutions that those in conflict are too emotional to see.
I could go on and on, but I believe that you can see that violence is more likely to come from insecure people than confident ones. What does this mean for you?
If you’re a confident person, help others gain greater confidence. Remember that your efforts will only produce results if they want to become more confident. People who prefer their victim status to a happier life can’t be helped until they want to change.
But for those who are open to your guidance on how to be more confident, you have the opportunity to protect them and others from the vagaries of frustration, anger and violence. The more people that we help become confident, the lower the level of violence in the world.
If you’re not confident, and especially if you find yourself prone to anger, find someone who possesses a calm, confident demeanor and ask them if they’d be willing to mentor you so that you can be as confident and happy as they are. It’s extremely rare that someone with that demeanor will say no. In the off chance that they do say no, keep looking until you find someone who says yes…it shouldn’t take long.
For our kids
When kids get angry, give them an opportunity to work it out themselves. It’s part of the maturation process. All too often parent involvement creates an escalation in anger that wouldn’t occur if the kids were left alone to deal with the situation.
If their anger shows signs of escalating to violence, ask them what they think will happen if they act out their violent thoughts. Then ask “Are there ways to get a better result?” This simple question takes them out of the emotional funk they’re in and focuses their minds on creating better solutions. The more frequently this mental shift occurs, the more automatic it becomes. In other words, future feelings of anger will quickly be converted into better alternatives for dealing with their anger.
Finally, live the message in the last paragraph. The more often your kids see you quickly set aside your anger in search of a better solution, the greater the likelihood they’ll adopt this practice.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your thoughts below.
If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs.
If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program.