I heard it expressed frequently by my family of origin– which led to my own false belief that we may each enforce our truths and wills on those who disturb us. Thank good gawd almighty that I was able to unlearn this in time to raise children- and to break the cycle of unwholesome thinking and behavior. Unless it is being said to/of someone for achievement recognition, a promotion, or a high score well earned, it is bullshit. Nobody deserves harm. NOBODY.
Cruelty is not a natural consequence nor is it corrective or constructive. When a person is cruel, it is because they are broken, not because something or someone has earned it. Cruelty is a choice.
Another person’s vulnerability, fragility, ignorance, even meanness is not an invitation or free pass to do them harm. There is a difference between being corrective and being hateful. Defense from legitimate danger differs vastly from attacking. Malevolence is the work of the mentally unwell. There is help for that. Good news, vigilantes: It is never too late to seek help and to change.
I had to unlearn the sick thinking so I could practice behaving like the person I am meant to be. This requires rigorous resisting of my natural urges and reactions to stress and threat. Much of the wreckage of my life stems from the myth that cruelty and abuse are well earned and justifiable reactions, rightfully directed at those “askin for it”. Before understanding the practices of kindness and compassion, my only known tools were shaming, blaming, judging, retaliating. If you got in the way of the way of how I believed things should be, you would fucken pay. Shaking my head at having thought this way well into my 30s. When we know better we do better. Kindness, previously, was a reward for having pleased me or met my needs. Ach! We do learn what we live.
All beings deserve comfort and kindness. Anyone believing otherwise is scary AF. TRUTH: Those requiring less of us are easier to love in that conditional ego-centric sort of way. Many years ago, as a rookie teacher, still deep in a state of un-knowing, I (possibly in some ways) preferred students arriving to class on time, smelling Downy fresh, well behaved, able to listen and learn (do as I say). They would be fine no matter what kind of person or teacher I was. They made my job easy while making me look good, right? Ugh. With experience, came my recognition of the strugglers as my people, and my love for them drove me to try harder to become what they needed and deserved. I was not always fair and kind to them(or anyone) because I had not yet been introduced to principles illuminating what is and is not ok to say and to do. I believed that you get what you deserve and that I was fit to decide and impose that. If you challenge me too much and I have the authority and the means, I will diminish you. I wish I could reach out to my students from my first days of teaching so I could say to them, “I did not know how to do better, but you ALL always always deserved better. Please forgive me for anything I said and did that indicated otherwise. It was only ever my defectiveness that made me act badly.”
Short skirts •crossing the border •being sexually confused or different •smelling bad • having a different or no religious/political affiliation • showing sensitivity • objecting to a thing that feels wrong • standing up for something that feels right: People feeling called to diminish or attack for things like this, probably won’t get what they deserve. And yet, it remains true, that their diminishing behavior speaks ONLY to their brokenness and darkness, not to the worthiness of their targets. Vilifying others is their choice, not a natural consequence.
As Harold Kushner says, not all punished people are bad, not all bad people are punished. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen for bad people. Some shit just happens. Proof of God is in the showing up of the helpers. I am so grateful to finally know how to be in this world in a kinder, gentler way. I am a work in progress.Much Love,
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