Personal Security, Self Defense, and Proactivity

Much of what I teach through the Hive Combatives system is related back to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It is a psychological theory that was first published in 1943 and then expanded upon in its entirety in Maslow's 1953 book "Motivation and Personality". The hierarchy basically functions to illustrate human motivations at different stages in life, and can be broken down to apply to a number of situations that one may encounter.

The foundation of the hierarchy highlights physiological needs that our bodies require for homeostasis. This includes what is required not just for immediate life, but also the hormonal drives that ensure the continuation of species which are a biological function and do not appeal to the higher self that makes us human (ie. cognition).

If i was computer saavy in any way, this is where I would put a picture of the pyramid. I am not. Bear with me. 

Physiological needs are listed as food, clothing, shelter, water, air, excretion, sleep and sex. That last one is an oft debated subject as many do not believe that it is a need, but I will clarify that it is placed here as a basic impulse that helps to propagate life, NOT as an interpersonal experience (which describes the standard high school experience). A good friend of mine once broke down the defining factors of life to me like this "Anything that can be defined as living must be able to do three things: consume, reproduce, and make pee." Thank you Dr. Biegler.

It is easiest to explain the crux of this post now as it is more important for you to consider at this point, than as a conclusion. When a portion of the hierarchy is lacking in our lives, we do not necessarily face imminent death (EXC.- air), but instead face a state of relative or pressing uneasiness and a drive to see that need satiated. When you have satisfied the drive, your body experiences homeostasis or equilibrium.

  • When diving to the bottom of a deep pool  and we feel the O^2 supply in our bodies running short, that drive to get to the top becomes pretty immediate and at the front of your mind.
  • When your body is very thirsty and you need to drink, try to just not satisfy that desire and be productive in other ways. Although you may be able to do things and accomplish tasks, you will likely see a drop in efficiency ad ability to stay on task. You may even experience physiological symptoms such as a headache.
  • Shelter and clothing provide serve to satisfy the same needs of protection from the elements and external factors and are able to be grouped together. When a strong cold wind suddenly comes up we will generally quickly find a source of heat or insulation to protect ourselves or head toward cover. As it is usually experienced communally it is easy to see how groups tend to work in unison when the need arises.
  • Sleep is a pretty simple one to relate to as we all experience the drive in 24 hour cycles so it is something that we are familiar with although we may not give it much thought, unless we are parents (of toddlers especially). In general we spend about 30% of our lives in this state so it remains constant.
  • Sex. Again, this topic is fraught with social hangups and assumptions of what we should and shouldn't do be able to do, teach, say, or think. So I'm just going to say this again, it is a biological function as well as a method if interaction and that is all that is being addressed here and it is best summed up with this stupid joke "sex is like air, its not such a big deal until you aren't getting any". Having worked in bars, nightclubs, concert venues, and festivals for the better part of a decade I can honestly say that drive very clearly exists among all of us, whether you see it or not is more tied to your personal situational awareness and sense of denial than whether it is or is not happening.

When or if we are denied any of these most basic needs for any duration or if we experience trauma in relation to them it often becomes apparent thorough actions that an individual may or may not be aware of. For example, if a person were to have food withheld from them as a child you might see them develop unhealthy relationships to it causing unhealthy weight issues or exhibiting food hoarding behaviors.

I spoke to a local homeless man one day about his shopping cart that he had piled high with clothes and blankets. I asked him why he had so many clothes on his load and he simply said "You never know when you are going to need an extra shirt or pair of pants". His explanation didn't really explain the nearly half dozen pairs of pants in view but I could see what was happening there. As a man with no regularity of shelter or protection from the elements to speak of, it would make sense that he experienced an inherent impulse to acquire these assets en mass to accommodate a previous clothing/ shelter related trauma.

After our physiological needs are met we come to Safety, I am going to refer to it as Security. Security actionable items, points we can educate ourselves on, practice and modify whereas safety is the final state of homeostasis as it pertains to security. 

As in the former level, security addresses a number of facets including: financial security, security from accidents and illness, psychological and mental well being, and physical security.

Security detail is absolutely one of foresight and prevention and the adage "failure to plan is planning for failure". We will start by addressing financial security as it is incredibly tangible and measurable. We start becoming financially secure by making sure that our income does not exceed our expenditure. From there we are told by financial planners to squirrel away a portion of our income to accommodate job loss or extreme financial burden that may come from illness or damage to property.  Finally we come to planning for our retirement and investment and so on. This is a bare bones framework of  long term financial security, it is concise, specific and easy to follow. It requires us to outsource in some cases to experts in their field and to solicit advice from those experts. Makes sense.

Plenty of our security needs will be written into law to ensure herd stability. The entire insurance industry exists to safeguard us against loss, theft, damage, death, and personal liability. Insurance is the second highest grossing industry in the world  (not entirely surprising that the industry that directly correlates to the physiological self- Health Technology, is the highest grossing)   We have laws in place that require us to contribute to government pension plans. Those pension plans will generally provide no more income during our twilight years than would provide for the barest of bare essentials, but it is there. That is not to say that it is the best way to accommodate that need by a long shot. We have laws that prevent mental abuse and punish those that would abuse others in such a way, and doctors who exist to mitigate the damage that could be done. That is not to say that there isn't a more proactive solution for dealing with mental and emotional abuse but it is a glass cage that every individual has to decide how to deal with once they are stuck in that mire.

There is honest help and you are worth it, reach out and get help if you need it when you need it. If you feel as if you have nowhere to turn, try using the contact info on this site. It's a start.

Physical security can mean an individuals health as well as their overall safety as it pertains to their jobs or social interaction. Occupational health and safety (OH&S) in Canada is written into law and provides another basic framework of what we and our employers must do to facilitate a reasonable level of safety to individuals at work. We have clinics, and hospitals and emergency wards to address our physical health and is attended to by professionals who are regarded as such heavily regulated governing bodies.

We have Personal Security as it pertains to social interaction. This is really what this article is about, sorry about the long winded precursor. There are many laws that govern interpersonal interaction, both written into the rules of the land and in the social fabric that we are threaded into. Our safety as it is associated to those around us is often overlooked in a preventative fashion. Police are the obvious go-to when it comes to how we are to deal with infractions to our own personal security, but a police force is 100% reactionary. They are not permitted to act in a preventative manner in many ways aside from their "presence". That is not to say that they do not wish to, but if thy are to act within the confines of their profession they must not pre-preemptively act and cannot prevent anything from happening strictly speaking. Ask any individual in an abusive relationship who cannot provide proof of threats what they are told when they attempt to stop further threatened abuse or harm from happening "I'm sorry but we cannot do anything, until the perpetrator does something". This highlights the importance of pro-activity.

"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is right now."

If you haven't started laying the groundwork for your own security and safety needs in the past, give yourself permission to start now. Both Physiological and Safety/Security fall under what would be considered basic human needs. Though the foundation level needs to be addressed first, it is equally important to your own sense of well being to address the second level with similar ferocity and gravity. It is doubly important not only to do so, if you are a parent, but to let your children seeing you do it as they will learn to imitate your example.

Security is a family value.

Before you start preparing to put in the work, do a mental exercise and think about the possible consequences of not doing so. You will be able to find both positive and negatives for sure, and you must weigh them against one another but also look well beyond the immediate effects of each as they will form lifelong standards and patterns. This level of the hierarchy is the foundational level of what it truly is to be a human, where we have the ability to lay a solid base for what is to come: love, self-esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence. Addressing your physiological needs allows your body to come onto the starting line as your physical vessel in the race to actualization, administering a Safety & Security plan to your life prepares your actual self, that part of you that is looking out from your body at this article. 

The first four levels are referred to as deficiency needs, that means that until they are met, our ability to progress and succeed in levels beyond them will be hampered by a sense of instability. This is important to note that we do not have to dedicate ourselves to each item as if it is our singular purpose, but to form a framework and plan that the minutiae will benefit from (similar to purchasing a balanced mutual fund) when looking at the bigger picture. 

As important as it is to address all of the items so far mentioned I want the point of trauma to really be driven home. People deal with trauma in different ways, sometimes through denial and at other times dwelling or other irrational behaviours as a means of trying to satiate the feelings caused by the event that led to it. The only way past trauma is through it. Addressing it and wholly recognising the factors that contributed to it. Laying blame on yourself natural, but no different than on the schoolyard it will not help with a resolution. Accept responsibility for the factors that you contributed, and insist that any other parties accept responsibility for the factors that they contributed, even if that means facing consequences. Trauma and its lingering effects are your consequences for you to deal with so let anyone else involved deal with theirs, insist on it. When you find yourself ready to deal with trauma and its consequences remember that consequences are life's way of illustrating lessons, like how a headache will illustrate your body's dehydration.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

-Mayo Clinic, 2017

Coping with PTSD after trauma is important because until we walk through the trauma, it will always bring us back to it. Those who have experienced it will know how it feels to re-lapse into an event at a later time in life and fall back into negative coping strategies and the frustration that will accompany.

The goal of building a framework of security for those who have experienced/ are experiencing trauma is to cease the trauma if ongoing, address it when you feel ready to, and proactively set a plan in place to prevent future recurrence. For those who have not experienced trauma in such a manner, the goal is to proactively ensure security so that you can circumvent the lifelong effort of managing PTSD, and expediting your process. Security is a family value. Provide your children with an awareness and a framework so that they might have the ability to avoid situations that would cause them to suffer the horrors that trauma brings. Listen to them and take them seriously. 

Live proactively and be aware of what it will take for you to guard your life and well being from outside sources and motivations. Take responsibility for your well being and the well being of your family, even if that means changing the dynamic of your current family situation. Take responsibility where you fall short and fix it, blame is not a tool its an excuse. Above all, be honest with yourself about what you need as an individual and don't be afraid of its impact on others. You are responsible for yourself, own that. If you are a parent, what is good for you is good for your children. 

If you have any feedback or would like to talk about anything here feel free to contact me via the appropriate channels listed under the Locate heading on the website.