Post No.: 0029
Genuinely strong, confident and courageous people are calm, gentle and welcoming – they are not easily provoked, don’t provoke aggression or feel the need to overtly posture against other people in order to try to ‘establish their status’ (because they know their status is fine). The people who consciously try to puff out their chests or artificially walk as if they’re stacked with more muscles than they’ve actually got are in fact the ones who unconsciously feel weak – well why would one need to make oneself seem larger than one really is unless one felt too small?! (Note that it’s about how people psychologically feel, not how big or small they physically are – some relatively physically large people can be quite insecure too.) There’s no greater sign of feeling inadequate than desperately wanting to prove that one is not.
Of course one should not be a wallflower, but the opposite of being aggressive is not being a pushover – it’s being calm and in control. Some men may think that posturing their might or ‘peacocking’ to every new person they meet will mean that other people will respect them more, but it usually produces the opposite effect (well, inside, how do you typically feel about those who think they’re better than you before they’ve even got to know you?!) This physical and/or verbal chest-puffing is annoying and counter-productive to get people to respect you. In contexts of leadership, one needs to be both liked and somewhat feared, but mainly liked, otherwise watch your back at every moment! (I just want to note here that, in my opinion, ‘peacocking’ is a strange analogy to use for male humans because it’s usually female humans who dress more flashily with male humans dressing more mundanely; and I also find that ‘alpha male’ is an inaccurate word to use for any male human too unless they have a harem of mates like alpha males of other animal species!)
An unprovoked ‘show of might’ resembles what terrorist groups in principle try to do to assert themselves. Such posturing and propaganda doesn’t create peace, and doesn’t stop opposing sides from fighting them. Their attempts at making themselves seem feared or to be feared only makes the majority of other people dislike them, and if pushed enough, to hit back, either overtly or covertly.
Hence it’s best not to posture with fanfare, whether it’s with one’s own military might or personal might. If you have it then you have it, but you don’t have to show it or brag about it, at least in an aggressive, arrogant or unprovoked way. Don’t target and don’t be a target. A courageous sense of ‘I’m not afraid of you, and you should not be afraid of me either’ is the higher evolved strategy. Woof.
So it’s not just about not being threatening but about not being afraid too. Be neither aggressive nor fearful. A lion does not fluster when it sees a mouse – it’s a scared mouse who flusters when it sees a lion. (Racism, for example, is a generalised fear of other ethnic groups – presuming threats where there are no genuine threats.) Only small people inside need to make a big show outside. Bragging/boasting may advertise to others that one is great, and thus may work on those who fall for image over evidence, by marketing over substance (which unfortunately is a large subset of people) but you don’t need to act big or sound clever if you feel big or are clever – it’s compensatory behaviour. People only act if they aren’t what they try to act to be. An organism only roars, beats its chest or acts big if that organism feels that its life or status is potentially threatened (i.e. there’s a fear of losing). Fear is at the root of all aggression.
A genuine predator in real life (away from the movies!) doesn’t roar or posture when it’s about to eat its prey – it just eats it efficiently (e.g. watch a real-life bird eating worms from the ground – it just calmly plucks those worms out of the ground without making any excess noise – it certainly doesn’t roar at its prey(!) So it’d be quite doubtful that e.g. a fully-grown tyrannosaurus rex would’ve roared against puny (defenceless) humans had they existed at the same time as us and encountered us! In fact, against prey, stealth or at least speed is the typical tactic for predators (e.g. shrinking one’s profile, being quiet); no time is wasted on roaring or beating one’s own chest. Such behaviours are reserved only against rivals for mates or predators above them in the food chain.
So if you truly are the ‘top predator’ – you wouldn’t be roaring or making a loud noise. You’d only be roaring and trying to make yourself look big to those who you feel could defeat you (which means take it as a compliment if someone tries to sound big and clever in front of you or tries to put you down without you trying or wanting to challenge them at anything e.g. you’re just standing there and minding your own fluffy business – it means they consciously or unconsciously find you as someone who could defeat them e.g. in a fight, for ‘mating rights’, for that job!)
Now one shouldn’t then smirk at other people’s insecurities – it’s not nice to feel insecure and some insecure people have deep anxieties or phobias (the people I’m talking about here though are not those who are meek for their insecurities but over-compensatory for their insecurities) so a bit of empathy might be more appropriate, especially if you’ve got to live or work with these people at the end of the day. Be the bigger person, as it were.
And it has to be said that some people do sometimes misuse the excuse of ‘they just feel threatened by me’ after receiving justified criticisms or rejections, in order to protect their own egos. Not every assertive point is malicious, personal or even an attack.
If you are told to lift a 30kg barbell off the ground then you probably wouldn’t sweat it – you’ll only sweat it if you’re faced with a 200kg, 350kg, 500kg weight or whatever. The point you turn from having a calm approach to some body or some thing to being pumped up against them or it indicates the point you feel you have a good chance of being defeated by them or it. Of course one must not venture into arrogance and fail to give e.g. a heavy weight or some other genuine threat of defeat some respect – but respect is one thing, uncontrolled fear or undisciplined aggression is another.
In summary, a person who is truly confident of surviving or maintaining personal dominance (not necessarily a confidence of dominating others but a confidence of not being dominated by others) doesn’t feel a threat from others, thus stays calm (as if a baby is trying to threaten them(!) Of course babies can bring other stresses but not against one’s survival or dominance!) The route to peace is to not feel unwarranted fear, as well as to not spread fear. A person with real knowing confidence (without arrogance) is therefore calm, composed, friendly, courteous and welcoming. And these are the types of leaders we should seek too rather than those who are thin-skinned or easily provoked.
Furrywisepuppy hopes you feel like a lion, although dogs, cats, mice and other animals are all cool too. It’s not really the animal but the courage and confidence to be calm and welcoming towards all others.