Posts Tagged ‘“everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves.”’

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Ever had the burning desire to get all your ducks in a row? Yeh, me too. No matter how hard I work at it though, there always to seem to be that one duck that has to run amok!

Oh well!

One duck at a time sweet Jesus. ūüôā

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There seems to be a formula in life that looks something like this: “the louder a person decries the behavior of another, the greater the chances are that there are skeletons in their closet.” When a person uses their energies to demagogue the immorality and inferiority of other people’s lives, it seems that it will eventually be inevitable that their own cracks in their armor will be glaringly brought to light.

We all have cracks in our armor. We all have skeletons in our closets. And yet, most of us at one point or another have probably felt compelled to shine the spotlight on someone else’s dark corner of the room. There is a reason someone said “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” I am disappointed to say I have flipped on the proverbial flood light or picked up stones during my life so far. Those are never our finest moments, so why do we all do it? There could be many reasons. But one could be that it is much easier to tear another down than to do the work to elevate our own thoughts and behaviors. We are all so fragile in many ways… riding the waves of our own cognitive dissonance–without being enveloped by the pull of the undertow.

Reminds me of a song…

“Step away
Keep your distance
I can’t be what you want me to be
But right now there are things inside I don’t want you to see
So take your personal spotlight
Shine it on someone else for a while
I can’t force a happy face or makeshift you a smile
I can’t deny what I see, what I feel or what’s in front of me
So take your world of precious moments of make-believe
They never made me believe in anything
But left me with nothing to hold on to
Your quick fix and magic tricks can only disguise what I was going through
And now I’m thinkin’ it was when it wasn’t
And now I’m tryin’ to rationalize what just doesn’t
Come together and somehow doesn’t make sense
But God, how can I convince them when I’m not even convinced?

Everyone is thinkin’ it, but nobody’s sayin’ it
Everyone’s sayin’ it, but nobody’s feeling it
Everyone’s feeling it, but nobody’s seein’ it
So how am I supposed to know what’s real?

False sense of happiness
My security wrapped up in this
These control freaks seek out who they can brainwash and make activists
They’d rather have me lie than bring my failure to the light
Keep your secrets to yourself
It’s not about you but them lookin’ right
No time to be ugly
Don’t trouble them with your doubt and fears
Shout for joy little boys and girls
You brokenness ain’t welcome here
Well excuse me while I bleed through and my life becomes see-through
Don’t ask for transparency but reject what you see into.”

by John Reuben

(brokenness spoken here…)

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Why do some people feel the need to bully others? Is it just about lunch money or who is “king of the hill” on the playground? No. I highly doubt it. And it just doesn’t happen in grade school either. Bullying, or abuse, happens all through the life span. Why? It could be any number of reasons. But one common component exists: the bully, or abuser, is attempting to exert their power and control over another individual (or group of people).

It is an epidemic in society that goes way beyond grade school bullying. And in many situations remains so far below the “radar” because many abusers use much more subtle weapons than simply their fists. In fact, many an abusive person may say “hey, I didn’t hit them!” But the abuses that leave the deepest scars are not the ones left by the hands of another. They are the subtle but painful abuses such as: emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse (often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, etc.), coercion, intimidation, threats, financial abuse and many more. What these abuses have in common is they seek to place the abused in a subservient and unbalanced (keeping the person guessing as to whether they will encounter the sweet side or the sour side of a person is powerfully unsettling) position in relation to the abuser.

It all comes down to power and control.

The abuse may start pretty subtle if the offender is getting what they want, but if the victim does not respond as expected, or dares to exert their own free will in the situation, the level of abuses will escalate until the victim gives in. Well, not always. Sometimes the victim has a strong enough psychological core, that no matter how bullied or beleaguered they are, they are able to resist the control and maintain their autonomy.

Any relationship has the potential for abusive behavior. School children, friends, dating, marriage, work place and parenting are just some examples. The greater the perceived power differential deficit, the greater the potential for abuse. Imagine for a moment that your boss begins a subtle power play with you. You don’t like what is happening, but you are afraid to lose your job… so you give in. Or a parent-child relationship. The parent intends things to go a certain way (not atypical by itself, no child is a fan of boundaries and rules), and the child may not agree. If things somehow move from “expectations of being” to “conditions of worth,” then the power differential balance has shifted. If the person feels that they are at risk of losing their parents unconditional love, or their job–they may give in. Again, for a time. In any of these scenarios, it is quite possible that the person at the short end of the power and control stick may find a way to remove themselves from the abusive situation. If an individual is strong enough to say “enough is enough,” it is a sure bet the person who was exerting power and control will not be happy… nor will they acquiesce quietly.

Everyone deserves to be treated in a respectful, egalitarian, non-abusive, consistent manner. Even if one is an employee, child, spouse (or ex-spouse) or student… they still deserve the human dignity of not being bullied on any level!

“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” – Yehuda Bauer

This isn’t grade school anymore, and honestly… people tend to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

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I once saw a bumper sticker
“we all live downstream.”
I really liked that concept. It is so true on so many levels! Dumping in the stream one place pollutes the water for us all. Flicking a cigarette out the window along one mile on the road burns a whole lot of forest down that many people (and animals) used to enjoy.
Does this kind of idea apply¬†to other¬†areas of life? I was just thinking about this the other day.¬†There is daily coverage about the most recent oil spill in the gulf.¬†The damage and effects seem so wide spread, and yet¬†so far away… it can be easy to change the TV station and think “it doesn’t affect me”… but then again, we all live downstream!
The main thing I notice in the coverage of this environmental disaster is that 99% of the energy is devoted to assigning blame. Does that help? Does it work toward the clean up and healing of the land, plant, ocean and animal life? No. Does it make people feel better? It seems to. Seems to be a part of human nature–to be compelled to lay blame in the wake of any sort of disaster (global or individual).
Whatever we put out there–good energy, or pollution… it eventually trickles down stream–for better or worse.¬†It may feel like it is¬†freeing up our hands (or mind) at that given moment to dump trash in the river, or throw a cigarette out the window, or even put poisonous words out there to¬†lash out at someone¬†else when we are in pain… seeking even a precious few moments of relief by laying the blame. But in the¬†end, the result is often the same… pollution, destruction, pain. It can all so very easy to let happen. I¬†would go out on a limb¬†and say that at one point or another we have all done¬†some “polluting”… in one form or another. What can we do? Can a person go back and recover the¬†refuse they may have dumped in a river, lake, stream or ocean? No.¬†Can a person¬†go back and reforest the state park that has burned down? No. Can a person go back and undo the¬†damage their words have caused?¬†Maybe.¬†Words have¬†meaning. And sometimes¬†the heart is open to a “do-over,” and sometimes too much polluted water has flowed downstream, or too many trees¬†have been leveled to ash… or too many tears have been shed.
I¬†supposed in any of those instances all any of us can do is try to move from that point forward. To begin the long and often arduous work of the clean up. The tenacity and tedium of clean up is not what makes the evening news though, the blame game is. But even though there is no spotlight or pretension in the behind-the-scenes clean up work, there are many more dividends available in the long run vs. investing one’s energy in the blame game and ultimately coming up empty.

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One of my favorite sources for humor highlighted this topic in the following post.

“Same-sex couples are virtually identical to opposite-sex couples when it comes to age, income, and child rearing according to census data released in the United States. … Just goes to show you, gay people really aren‚Äôt all that different from straight people. Except for our extrasensory abilities and ability to wither your crops by blinking, that is.”

Read the entire post here! ūüėČ

So, if this is the case, then why do so many straight people still spend their energies spreading the angst and animosity?

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