Message to Som Gollakota

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Woodinville, WA
Why Physical Abuse?
April 18, 2009
hy is there so much physical abuse in this world? Why is physical abuse considered the best form of relieving frustration? Why stronger nations attack weaker nations? Why men beat up women (wives, sisters, mothers, daughters)? What are they trying to prove? And to whom? Is attacking the weak really the strength?
I have been observing several relationships, and handling of situations/relationships, in various cultures across the world for a long time. One common theme is that the strong always strike the weak. While at the level of nations and kingdoms, we witnessed this throughout the history of mankind, it is a fairly recent trend in domestic and personal relationships, occurring in past 50 to 100 years. Unfortunately, it is getting worse.
Stronger nations attack weaker nations for expansion of their domain and assert supremacy. It is not the courage that enables the strong attack the weak. It is the fear of losing to a stronger adversary, or the risk of losing to an equal, that results in choosing a weaker adversary where victory is a sure thing. Courageous are those who stood toe-to-toe with a stronger oppressor, even at the face of an imminent defeat.
A similar theme resonates in men physically abusing women, where they try to establish their supremacy and strength by instilling fear in their women, by beating them up, and/or even raping them. While a large percentage of such pseudo-strong supremists are men, a similar behavior is seen in some women as well (although the outpour is different).
What these people seldom realize is that by doing so, they are only showcasing their internal weakness and not strength. The internal insecurities, lack of confidence, and desperate attempt to prove to themselves that they are strong, manifest in several different ways.
  • Common reactions - Short-temperedness, blame game, and uncontrollable anger for even minor issues
  • Physically weak - exhibit Shouting, cursing, throwing tantrums, and using hate language
  • Physically strong exhibit - Shouting, cursing, using hate language, violence and physical abuse
The real strength is in exercising restraint, and not in displaying strength and showing force. Those who know they are strong are usually peace-lovers. They believe in conversations, discussions, negotiations and healthy debates to resolve issues and build relations. They use deep thinking and analysis for understanding the root cause of their frustration. They focus on finding answers and long-term solutions to reduce reoccurrence of frustrating situations, than immediate self-gratification. Our physical strength is worthless if we are internally weak. Our internal strength glows, shows, and helps gain respect of even the worst of our adversaries, even if we are physically weak. The reason - internal strength gives us patience, resilience, endurance, and forgiveness. Most importantly, it gives us a way to assess and resolve situations objectively and prepares us for the long haul.
In my mid-teens, while learning martial arts, my master said something to me that left a lasting impression on me. "Som! You don't yet know your strength. Remember, the strength comes from within, not just physical. It is not how hard you can land a punch, but how you can control that strength and focus it properly. Think before your fist touches your opponent and use only as much force as needed. If you don't, no matter how physically strong you are, you are still weak. Never misuse your strength."
I have very strong feelings against violence as means of show of strength. This rambling will go on forever unless I conclude it somewhere/somehow. Therefore, I will conclude this with a message from a very spiritual and wise man, my father, given to us from a very young age until I was 18, when he passed away. Although it took a bit of maturity on my part to understand this message, it has been one of the guiding principles in my life.
"God has given us strength to protect the weak. If ever you have to use your strength, let it be to protect the weak, women, and children. If you have to go up against someone, make sure they are either your equal or higher in strength. Never use your gift to oppress the weak."