To understand the world we live in, we are taught to understand our reality. These are things I’ve learned as a human:
1. People Are Mean. I’m sure I am too even though I make much effort to be nice, I don’t think I always succeed at not being mean. Yet, when I’m mean, it’s because of words I’ve said almost always out of ignorance, not because I tried to be mean.
Yet, even as a small child with two mean older sisters and a mom who encouraged them, I learned there are mean people who are just mean because their size, position, age, agenda or intention. As I’ve grown up, I’ve witnessed the same kind of meanness in the workplace and in life.
There are people who were taught to be mean by their “teachers” who taught them how to learn to hurt others. Often mean people bring those thoughts and teachings and include them in policies of business and governments.
2. People Are Violent. Really. And most who are violent enjoy being violent. We are violent in our personal relationships as much as we are in our professional or public ones. I appreciate physical exchanges as much as the next person, yet I’m not about to slap anyone, if it comes to that, I was taught to walk away.
Yet, from the colossal military we have, to our uber police forces, we have taken violence and perfected its use. And, we don’t understand why this is a problem in our world.
3. My Voice Matters. I realize that it really doesn’t matter in this vast huge cosmos, yet, the truth I’ve learned is it does.
Whether it’s was the blood curdling scream as a child that finally got my dad to rescue me from my sisters, or whether it’s the statements I make to our little town’s city council and police chief because I witness police officers speaking meanly or with violent words and threatening postures, or that I share my words here on the internet with no one at all, the expression is important. Even if it’s just important for me.
If I do not use my voice to stop what I don’t like, it will continue for certain, that I’ve learned.
Don’t worry if you feel like no one is listening, be patient and consistent. Listen for others saying the same things you are, there will be others, you will hear them.
Share stories and support each other — my experience with Occupy taught me about empowering in solidarity even when there is (or seems to be) a conflict. When empowering, it’s so quickly that conflicts transform to like minded actions to support the whole. Yes, it’s often hard to empower others as I think about my sisters, my only advice is, if you cannot empower, just stay away until you can.