By HRH Dr. Appolus Chu
There is a tiger in every person. Each of us has a lion, crocodile, dragon, a wild nature hiding inside of us. Releasing that beast depends on how much we have been pushed or provoked by others.
When you provoke somebody to a level or degree where he or she loses control of their mind, they will begin to demonstrate certain traits that you cannot see right now – hidden traits which you may have mistaken for weakness. When pushed to the wall, you’ll be amazed at the kind of things that person you assumed was weak and docile is capable of. Even the persons themselves may end up surprised at their behaviour and character at that moment when they get pushed beyond their limits and run out of patience.
Most times, people who are calm maintain their calmness and comportment out of a sense of maturity, self-discipline and self-control. If such a person chooses to keep quiet when you are talking, it does not mean that the person is weak. If the person chooses to remain quiet when you are shouting or doesn’t push back when you push them, it does not mean that they are afraid of you. The person is only exhibiting restraint and self-control, and it would be wrong for you to want to take advantage of the person’s calmness by continuing to hit or push the person. Eventually the person could get to a point where they just snap, because even an animal, when pushed to the wall, will fight back.
People with such strong self-control are the ones who keep the environment and society safe. They realize that two wrongs do not make a right, so they behave themselves and do all they can to maintain peace. They know that if everybody decides to lose their cool and emotions all the time, the environment will not be conducive for anyone, because everybody will begin to act crazily. Such mature people who know how to always keep their emotions in check need to be encouraged, rather than incensed.
The person who is pushing or inciting the other person has already exposed his strength. For example, people who use their office or position to intimidate, harass or victimize other people are simply telling those they victimize, and the entire society, that they are nothing without their office and position. That’s where their power lies. That is the much they can do.
The Bible describes Samson as a man of muscles and raw power, while Joseph was a man of diplomacy and tact. Yet, between Samson and Joseph, who can we really say was the stronger? Undoubtedly the conclusion is that Joseph was the stronger. That is because, although Samson had natural strength, he was a very emotional person and always quick to react to every situation. Joseph, on the other hand, was not emotional, but rational. He took time to think before acting. The result is that while Samson died with his enemies, without achieving his goals; Joseph ended up becoming leader over those who were once his masters and achieved his goals of saving his people from famine and settling them in the best part of Egypt. Joseph, who was the gentle one, was actually stronger on the inside and because of that he fulfilled all his dreams. While Samson looked physically stronger, he was actually weaker on the inside. The conclusion from their lives is that the calm person is stronger on the inside and is usually deadlier than the person who is always making noise.
The story is told of a baby kite that was learning how to hunt and one day returned home with a baby duck for their dinner. Before going ahead to eat the baby duck, however, the mother kite asked the baby kite what the reaction of the mother duck was, when it carried away the duckling. The baby kite responded that the mother duck had not done anything or said a word. The mother kite told her baby to quickly return the duckling to its mother, noting that the mother duck’s silence was an ominous sign since they could not tell what she was planning against them. Mother kite told baby kite to look for something else to catch on its way home from returning the duckling to its mother. Soon, the baby kite returned home with the chick of a domestic fowl in its claws and told its mother that the mother hen was busy ranting, raving and laying all manner of curses on it as it flew away with her chick. To which the mother kite responded that they could go ahead to eat the chick, because the mother hen had already exhibited everything it was capable of and there was therefore nothing to fear.
The lesson from that anecdote is that people who are naturally more tolerant of other people’s actions can come up with heavier revenge and retaliation. They are usually not in a hurry to get back at other people for hurting them. Rather they take their time to come up with something heavier and more painful to those who dared them.
The really dangerous person is the one who has not told you what he or she can do. You’re busy acting up and they tolerate you. They haven’t come out to tell or show you what they are capable of. That is because they haven’t made up their mind about the kind of action, attack or resistance to put up against you. They haven’t made up their mind to retaliate, but you are already exposing your action. Your action may be administrative or violent, but so long as you have gone ahead to show what you can do, you have exposed your weakness. In terms of measurement, your initial action may cause the other person only 20 percent hurt – that means it is something momentary. But you don’t know whether the other person will come back at you with a pain that will live with you for ever – 100 percent hurt or damage.
Some people derive a sense of pleasure and fulfilment from retaliating against those who have hurt them, because they take their time to plan their revenge. They feel satisfied, because they have tolerated the other person long enough and decided it was time to give them a dose of their own medicine.
A husband could persist in hitting his wife and doing things to hurt her, thinking she is too weak to retaliate; not knowing that she is simply tolerating his actions. That woman only chose to remain mature, composed and tolerant of the man’s excesses. If the man persists in hurting her, a day will come when that same calm, gentle and understanding woman would be pushed to the point where she becomes violent and does something terrible to the man – something worse than anything he had ever done to her. That is because she has been forced to the point of losing control. Parents can push their children to become wild and violent. Brothers and sisters can do the same to one another. Anybody can be pushed to the point where they lose control and unleash the wild beast inside of them.
The way we can manage people to keep good relationship with them, is the same way we can mismanage them to turn them wild and violent against us. A properly managed relationship will grow sweeter, while a mismanaged one will grow bitter.
The question to ask therefore is: Who is provoking who?
Whoever is provoking the other and indeed anytime you are dealing with humans you should always bear in mind that they are exposed to information. The one thing you must ask yourself is: “This person I am hurting or provoking in the name of showing my strength, do I know the people he or she is talking to and what those people are capable of doing? Do I know the kind of information or incitement they are giving out against me?” We do not really know what other people are capable of when they are pushed to the wall. We could already be dead while walking, as a result of the things people have concluded about us and our oppressive actions against them. History is full accounts of powerful people, kings, rulers, generals, and great warlords that were killed, rather cheaply, by people they thought had no guts to do anything against them, despite their meanness towards such people. That the people you are victimizing with your office and position today have not made up their minds to take any action or retaliate against you, doesn’t mean that you are safe. It doesn’t also mean that they are weak.
Petrol is cool and calm until it is tested with fire. That’s when you’ll know how dangerous it is. The same thing can be said about the domestic gas we use for cooking in our homes. Handle that same gas wrongly and you will know just how violent it really is. These two substances render all sorts of services to us and we derive joy from using them. At the same time, if we mismanage them we will learn what they are capable of. As harmless as they look, they are able to raze a mighty skyscraper to the ground. So, when a person is tolerating and giving you room for repentance, realization or understanding of your errors so you can change, and you mistake their calmness for weakness; note that you are pushing that person to the wall and mismanaging that person the same way you can mismanage gas or petrol. You are courting disaster and eventually you will unleash the explosive potentials within that person, resulting in the destruction of everything you thought you have built up for yourself.
Do not take it for granted that because somebody did not say or do anything about what you did to them, they have forgiven or cannot do anything against you. Endeavour to avoid doing things that could incite people against you or cause them to hold a grudge against you, because you do not know what they are capable of.
Comporting ourselves decently and exhibiting good behaviour towards everyone we meet should be the ultimate goal of living in society. Being diplomatic in our dealing with those we meet in life’s journey is the best. We should always strive to be considerate in our dealings with one another, always thinking about how the other person would feel if we do things to hurt them. Don’t do things with impunity as if you own the world or you are so strong and powerful that nobody can touch you. Remember that stronger, greater, and mightier people than you have passed through this earth before you. Many among them who thought they could get away with anything because their security and defence were impenetrable, took their final breaths in shock as persons they assumed were weak, powerless, and terrified of them, easily penetrated those defences to take their revenge and retaliation against them. So, always be careful how you treat human beings. Treat people with value and respect, so that the society will be conducive for everybody.
The best way to live in society is to love one another and live in understanding and peace with your neighbours. Don’t be in a hurry to show your strength, because by doing so you might end up mismanaging sensitive situations and relationships. Learn to manage your strength. Don’t use your strength against people or treat them in ways that make them go to bed and wake up with thoughts of the pain you caused them. By doing so, you are instilling thoughts of evil and retaliation into their minds – and the consequences could be disastrous for society.
*The book “There Is a Tiger in Every Person” is written by HRH King Amb. Dr. Appolus Chu, Egbere Emere Okori and Oneh Eh Nchia X, Eleme