Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
Throughout my life, I have learned a number of “one-liners.” Many of them have been quite helpful:
“The clearer you are about yourself, the less power others have over you.”
“A dysfunctional system is like flypaper: There’s no way to engage without getting stuck.”
“The best revenge is to live well.”
“The first rule of relationships: Stay out of the middle.”
“When you’re going through Hell, don’t camp there.”
“Sow tomorrow’s seeds today.”
“A journey is taken one step at a time.”
I once heard someone say, “A woman is strong in her gentleness; a man is gentle in his strength.”
This seems especially important now, when we are being called to react in anger, aggression and “toughness.” Really, only cowards need to resort to such things.
The greater strength is in love. Do you want to melt the ice of bitterness, fear and shame? Honor others and watch these disappear like fog in bright sunshine.
gentleness will take the flame right out of anger, which needs fuel to burn. If we take the time to listen – truly and sincerely; then give a gentel, reasonable answer, the likelihood of peace goes way up. Argue or push back, however, and the fire will burn hot.
Love, honor, gentleness and strength are available to each of us, like clothes in our closets. They adorn us like beautiful jewelry. We can pick them out and put them on. The result is loveliness and attraction that is beyond words.
Things such as anger, fear, prejudice, greed, self-centeredness and bitterness are within reach, too. They make us pale and fragile in the same way as a long-term disease does.
Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of this is that we have the power to choose. These are inward qualities that cannot be forced on us or taken away from us.
What’s in your closet? Which will you put on? By the way, if you want to throw the ugly “clothes” out, you have the power to do that as well.
Recently, I have had at least three conversations with people that have to do with the choices we make as we progress through life.
“Well, she had a rough childhood….”
or “my mom wasn’t able to show compassion…”
Each time, the implication is that this past wound is responsible for current thinking and actions.
This has inspired me to consider the points of decision that seeme to come our way:
Will I hold to a past wound?
Will I forgive?
Will I cling to old understandings or embrace new truth?
Will I return an offense with something hurtful; will I lead the way of healing by responding graciously?
Will I close my heart in fear?
What might happen if I am open and vulnerable?
The old road of fear, self protection and familiar wounds is always tempting: I know what to do with all of that.
The new way, however, is where life is. Every time I forgive, act with grace or take a risk, I heal more and find greater joy.
On several occasions, I have been delightfully surprised by the change in relationships when I choose the way of healing and life. People who have spoken or acted unkindly, expecting me to do the same, are challenged to interpret and act differently when I don’t react in kind. I have learned that there is great power in this.
Perhaps the greatest impact has been on the relationship I have with myself. I have learned that I am powerful; that I am okay, regardless of what others are saying or doing around me. That means, I am free to choose well.
Points of decision are opportunities; I have grown to greet them with expectancy and grattitude.
Wouldn’t it be nice if bullying didn’t exist at all?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t occur at school, home or in the work place?
In my mind, bullying is abuse, even though some of the articles I have read say otherwise. Any time power is being usurped and used to tyrannize another, abuse is taking place.
Any time one feels unsafe because somebody (or a group of people) is giving them cause to think that their work, health or life is in danger, abuse is taking place.
Any time a person is led to believe that he or she has responsibility for things outside his or her power, abuse is taking place.
My first suggestion for how to deal is, get away if at all possible. Mistreatment such as this causes injury to your soul.
I am thinking of a job I had. The first year seemed fine; then, my supervisor began to find things “wrong.” Not in writing was that he was uncomfortable with my blindness. I actually did leave that position, three months after this abuse began. It took me another several months to recover. One of the greatest temptations was to blame myself, even though all evidence pointed to discrimination, manipulation and bullying on the part of my supervisor.
I have a hard time imagining a situation that would prevent someone from leaving, but if that is the case, you will need to take deliberate measures to see to your care and safety. Make sure you have people in your life who remind you of your dignity, strength and qualities. Build alternatives so that you can eventually leave. If work and income are at stake, do what you have to so that you won’t fall flat if your job ends.
Most of all, take charge of yourself. I used to have a therapist who would counsel me not to give my power away to others. IT took a long time for me to catch on to what he was saying. One primary way we do this is to believe what others say to or about us. IT is amazing how wrong they can be! How you regard yourself is far more important than anybody else’s opinion. After all, you are the one who lives inside your skin; you get the consequences or rewards for your choices; nobody else does.
There are still people who try to bully me, either with words or exclusion. I am finding that my best defense is a clear, strong identity. I know who I am; I am learning not to let the bullies get me down.
For much of my life, I have been silent or at least very soft spoken; whispering instead of speaking out; afraid of offending. There are a few contributing factors for this. Perhaps the biggest one is that I haven’t had permission.
But I am learning that I really do have a voice; that it is my right and responsibility to use it. I give myself permission to express and declare. A bit of attitude comes with this new-found power: Let people deal with my words, even if they don’t like what I say. I am not talking about being disrespectful or rude; I will always try to be careful. I am saying that others need to take responsibility for themselves; I don’t have the power or obligation to do that.
I am learning that, when I live as a powerful person, I actually create the freedom for others to be themselves, walking in authenticity and the power they have been given.
Wow, I have a voice! I can speak, tell stories, sing, declare, ask questions or…
Choose to be quiet.
There was a time when I had very few choices;
When I felt powerless and small.
I heard the sound of others voices,
But couldn’t hear my own at all.
But as I got healthier and stronger within,
I found I have something to say.
I heard my soul through all the din,
Telling me a much better way.
Now I find that I am more powerful and wise;
That my choices are up to me.
I’m grateful for what I now realize:
The truth of who I’m meant to be.