The Best Self Defense Lesson I Learned From My Mother

The things our parents or guardians teach us as kids can have deep rooted, lasting impacts into adulthood and throughout our lives. In the moment we may not even realize how important these lessons are or how they will play a role in our lives, and it often isn’t until much later in life that we appreciate their value.

Sometimes these lessons come in the form of little tips and tricks, like how to keep your cookies from spreading too much when they bake, or how to use duct tape to fix literally anything. But sometimes these lessons are truly life saving measures that become integrated into everything we do as adults.

One lesson that my mother taught me has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s something she always told me as a kid, and honestly… it annoyed me! “Yea, yea. Okay, Mom.” My rebellious side just didn’t want to listen to her and I didn’t see the value in these words at the time. Nowadays, however, that lesson is with me everywhere I go and I consider it an essential piece of my self-defense strategy.

What did my momma always tell me? Four little words:

“Walk with a purpose.”

It’s so simple, yet so impactful. Every time I walk anywhere – across the parking lot from my car to a store, around the neighborhood on my evening stroll, exploring new cities, etc. – those words are in my head.

I wish I could ask her why she drove this message so hard. I never really understood her “why”. Was this part of her self-defense strategy? Did she know how important this would be in keeping me safe? Was there some other reason that she felt this was important? I’ll never know, but I will tell you what it means to me now.

In my humble opinion, there are a few very important benefits to walking with a purpose.

You are not seen as an easy target.

For me, this is critical. I’m often walking by myself and that coupled with the fact that I’m a female can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. I want to reduce that risk as much as possible, and walking with a purpose is one way for me to do that. This lets anyone around me know that I am intentional in what I’m doing and where I’m going, and I won’t be easy to mess with.

You are more aware of your surroundings.

We all know that situational awareness is key in maintaining safety, and walking with a purpose enables me to be more aware. When I’m walking with a purpose, I’m not distracted or looking down at my phone. My head is up, I’m taking in what’s going on around me, and I’m able to more proactively react to anything that may arise.

I’m so thankful that my mom drilled those four little words into my head, and I’m so glad that I can share it with you now!

What lessons stuck with you from your childhood? Let me know in the comments!


  • TheFarmGirl

    Such a good phrase!!
    I remember hearing about a study: violent prison inmates were shown videos of people walking down the street and asked if they would mug the person. #1, joe smo, they said “of course!”. #2, a woman, they said “no, pass”. When asked why, they all responded that she didn’t look like someone they’d want to mess with. (Turns our she was off duty LEO). Then # 3, all responded “NO, absolutely not”. That guy was a navy seal.

    My personal add on: lock your doors while in the car. I gleaned this from (ex) family who live in El Salvador: almost every single one has a story of being kidnapped, and many begin with someone jumping into the car while at a stoplight.

    • pinotandpistols

      Wow what a fascinating study! Thank you for sharing.

      Locking the car doors is always a good one. Most cars these days lock automatically when you start driving but I always make sure to lock the doors as soon as I get in the car.

  • Tia

    The lesson I learned from my parents that still sticks with me: make eye contact with people you cross paths with, or greet them. Bottom line, make sure they know you SEE them. Recognizing someone as a person can force them to see you as a person instead of a target or an opportunity. It also lets them know that you’re not only aware of their presence, but that you’ve likely gotten a good look at them & that you have confidence. Things predators avoid. I’ll never forget these things.

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