Archive | Justice

Effective Positivity: Inspire All, Empower Only Good

EmpowerGood

Photo Credit: S. Braswell

People are not all equal.

That is, all deserve to be approached with openness, kindness, compassion, and the basics of humanity, but not all deserve much more beyond that. This is because there is such a thing as a bad person.

I was like many of you, once upon a time. I believed that everyone was inherently good, that many were just confused, lost, and that there were really no truly bad people. I therefore wasted my  energy in a lot of potential good, not actual good.

This is a tricky line to draw. People should be given the benefit of the doubt, and even those who make mistakes should be given a chance to show that they can be better than how they have been.

At least, in theory, it sounds reasonable. But, as with most credit-based systems in an open market, the potential for abuse is fairly high. (Check out our economy’s ledger if you need proof.)

I understand that “hurt people hurt people,” and I still believe in the majority of people being not-bad, even if they do things that harm others. But there is a small percentage (which equates to a large number, nonetheless) of people who truly are bad. Until this fact is acknowledged, these individuals will continue to cause serious damage to innocent, well-meaning, unassuming people, because bad guys understand and take tremendous advantage of the status quo ignorance.

Q: “How do you tell the difference between Good and Evil?”

A: “You give it power.” ~Marilyn Vos Savant

That answer stuck with me since I first read it in Marilyn Vos Savant’s column, one of my favorite go-to sections of The Washington Post when I was a kid. Its simple brilliant truth manifested itself through people I would meet and try to help throughout my life. The only caveat of this test is that by the time “evil” has been identified, power has been put into the wrong hands, and serious damage has often been done.

I was in a harmful relationship where I was once a Zen Ignorant – I was insistent that goodness was to be found in everyone. My perpetrator ex was simply confused because he did not grow up with the kind of love that I did. If I showed him kindness, compassion, patience, and encouragement, he would be inspired into becoming the same. Right?

What took me quite a while to figure out was that my ex understood, from very early on, my need to be fair and kind to others. So, he tailored his words and actions accordingly, and very effectively, to my detriment. This alone did not make him a bad person, though.

Not even did the fact that he knew to hide the things he did to me from the public and the law – any common criminal would do this, and not all criminals are actually bad people. (I know this because following our brother’s death, my surviving brother became a gangster. He did things that gangsters did, and felt the anger and lack of connection to his conscience during those years in order to survive in the streets. I get it.)

But my ex was not an adolescent/young adult who didn’t know better. He was not living in the streets, looking over his shoulder every second. He was not living in nor reacting from fear or violence. He was not mentally ill and needing medication, nor was he on drugs. Along with the lack of someday-pardonable reasons for his behaviors, what truly set him apart from a “lost/confused” person was the fact that my ex enjoyed causing me pain and seeing me suffer.

And this was made possible because I gave him power: the power to disconnect me from my own sense of worth and abilities; the power to flex his “paternal rights” through the court system as a means to continue to terrorize me for nearly a decade after I’d escaped him; the power to stay in this country and continue the cycle with other naive young girls.

Today, I am very mindful of whom I empower. I am openly kind to all that cross my path because I want to fill the world with whatever goodness that I can. But I do not empower everyone. The lesson on the dangers of empowering the wrong person is one of my greatest gifts from that dastardly period. My hard head about having a soft heart had to be split wide open to understand this. But yours doesn’t.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou

In retrospect, there were a lot of clues that my ex was one to be left slithering on the side of the road. If my mind were more open—seeing people as they were, not as I insisted they were (which was “good” and “nice”)—I would have recognized what I was dealing with. But it was fixated on ideals, and no fixation in our mind allows truth to clearly materialize.

Most people who do bad things are truly simply hurt, lost, and confused, some, terribly so. Help if you can, or walk away if you cannot. But keep this in mind:

Some people are just bad to the marrow of their bones.  It is not your responsibility to fix or help them, nor to even try to understand them. In fact, that you cannot comprehend, on any common level, their reasoning, is a good thing. Chances are, there is nothing to rationalize, for there’s nothing humane in the rationalization of seeking and finding pleasure in an innocent person’s pain. You just need to learn to recognize such individuals, and deal with them accordingly, as you would with any deadly serpent in your path.

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Stop, Thief! (You Can Quote Me On That)

HappyEvidenceCollectors

(Photo Credit: Karen Salmansohn)

I loved that message and shared it on my personal Facebook page the other day.  On that same day, I found it completely plagiarized by another blogger online, by someone who is apparently a life coach and motivational speaker, who has a list of testimonials on how great a coach he is, and who listed training credentials to include those from the likes of Tony Robbins and John Maxwell.

Impressive, it would seem.  Except, the fact that he completely claimed the artistic expression made by someone else as his own makes me see him as shady and opportunistic. And I would not want him to claim having trained from me, if that were the case; Tony Robbins would probably not be proud of the association.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon problem, and it’s not just an academic issue.  On Facebook, people post quotes without properly crediting them all the time. I actually had my email signature posted on Facebook by someone that I knew, without any indication that it wasn’t written by her. Many people complimented her on the quote, but she never nodded my way. I was particularly shocked because she was the editor of her own magazine!

Sometimes people don’t know better; others simply don’t think it’s a big deal. And there are those, like Mr. Life Coach and Ms. Editor, who should know, but instead of sharing the joy along with its source, post it with their signatures slapped on. Very wrong, very uncool.

This is why: When we create something, whether it be through an art, invention, or piece of writing, we are putting our time, effort, intention, and essentially, a piece of ourselves, into it. For the most part, it is an act of love to share it with the world, and it is a source of joy to see others enjoy it so much that they want to share it. In that act of sharing, with acknowledgment, one tells the creator, “Thank you, this positively affected me. I want to pay it forward because it bubbles within me that much.”

However, when one takes a piece of the creator and purposefully omits giving proper credit, it is saying, “I think what you made was so awesome that I will steal it and claim it as my own, because I want people to think I’m awesome.” Some may say that it can be considered a form of flattery, but that’s like saying, “Wow, love your car, so I’m going to steal it and ride it around town!”

I want to clarify that this is not about sharing an idea that already exists; almost every idea has been repackaged.  There may be a fine line on this subject, I know, as I’ve held back sometimes out of fear of riding off the coattails of another blogger. I have to keep in mind that, as a writer, there’s nothing wrong with joining in on a popular conversation, so long as it is my own dialog.

In these cases, we are not stealing, but being inspired and then sharing our inspiration through our personal filtering lenses, resulting in a unique product of inspiration. Painters may use the same brushes and paints, and they may use similar strokes and colors, but the landscape will be interpreted many ways across different painters.  This is okay.

What is not okay is if you paint a picture and I take the painting and sign it, and then show it as my own in an exhibit.

So now that I’ve explained why plagiarism is, indeed, that bad, let me emphasize why giving credit to its creator actually beats stealing for free accolades:

1. You get to be in touch with true gratitude. Very little in life will matter without connection with gratitude; giving credit where it’s due returns us to a state of humility and the acknowledgment that the world we live in and the factors independent of our control are awesome.

2. You get to make connections with people you admire. Crediting an author or artist for their work may open doors to connect with them. (Obviously, if the creator is no longer living, this may be harder. But crediting them honors their memory, and stealing from them will probably make you look quite stupid, as there is a good chance people will be familiar with their work.)

3. You honor your creative potential.  Even if no one discovers your lie, your creative integrity is the platform from which all creative growth springs. If you steal, you cannot go through the raw process that creating your own work demands; you cannot grow to your potential as a creator.

4. You may still be seen as an expert. You don’t have to be the creator to be thought of as an authority in your field of interest; crediting all the great people from whom you’ve drawn your brilliant shares show that you are self-motivated in learning and growing, that you process what you observe, and that you recognize talent. It also shows that you are gracious and have integrity.  Speaking of which–

5. You maintain your integrity. If you deny yourself of any level of integrity, you cling on to some fear of shame, of not good-enough. And when someone finds out (and someone will, because intellectual property thieves are usually repeat-offenders), it will be a self-inducing prophecy that will be very hard to reverse.

I will now probably forever see the “Lie” in Mr. Life Coach, which is a shame if he actually has genuine value to give. But he insulted another person by stealing instead of honoring her work, and there are so many great bloggers out there with integrity that I don’t have time or interest to wait for him to prove himself otherwise.

Meanwhile, Karen Salmansohn, of whose writing I am a fan, reached out to thank me for looking out for her, and generously gave me a copy of one of her e-books, neither actions of which I was expecting, but was delighted to receive.

Again, authenticity rules, and the holding up of integrity pays forward manifold.

Related: “Choosing the Red Pill”

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Life Code: Lessons from “Dexter”

Dexter

“Dexter: Harry’s Code” Scene (Photo credit: http://swishost.com/dexter-widescreen.html)

From the beginning, I loved the idea of Dexter’s character: A serial killer of serial killers.  Perhaps I am too elementary spiritually, not transcended above the idea of such a system of justice.  I’m not sure what it is within me that makes it gratifying, not horrifying, to think of someone killing those who kill innocent people, like my twisted sense of relief to know that child rapists often get killed in prison when their inmates discover the nature of the predator’s crimes.  I feel that somehow I am wrong to think this way, and I am partly ashamed to admit having a side comfortable with such brutality.  The fact that I am not entirely convinced that it is wrong to think this way, however, brings me to believe that my sense of shame is more a learned one rather than an instinctive one.  So, for now at least, Dexterity, it is.

I feel, though, that I am not alone, as “Dexter” was quite a popular show, and not just for his sexy love interest, Hannah McKay (played by Yvonne Strahovsky) in the latter half of the series.  I remember going into a department store and talking to a sales associate about the show when it was at the height of its popularity, and was told that the Henley shirts Dexter sported always sold out quickly.  It made me wonder if the general population was as dark as I was, or if Dexter was, in fact, not really a bad guy, despite the general acceptance that killing is a bad, bad thing.

What made Dexter’s “dark passenger” a welcomed one, I believe, was “The Code,” a set of rules that was taught to Dexter by his father before he passed away:

  1. Never get caught.
  2. Never kill an innocent.

This code serves Dexter well throughout the series, both for his objectives within the context of the show as well as for his likeability as a character from the perspective of the show’s fans.  His code perpetuates his survival and ability to carry justice in the most primal and efficient way.  Without it, his character and story unravel.

In real life, we all must live by codes.  The law has a set of codes, religions have their codes, and general society has its own code of conduct.  People teeter-totter, pick and choose among these different sets of codes to create a basket of their own, some with very full baskets, adhering to every code they know, others, with fairly empty ones.  The exercise of identifying one’s own personal code is important, I believe, because it forces one to examine one’s self, both internally as well as in relation to one’s world, with all the people and triggers in it.  This connects us with our sense of control and, more importantly, accountability, which is a necessary moderator for the sense of power that comes with control.  If there’s any ethical standard or quality control to be found, accountability is the sleuth for it.

I’ve always thought about this theory of a code of conduct, although I’d not labeled it, but I recognized its existence immediately whenever one of my unspoken codes was being violated – the protest rose in full form, from my thoughts to emotions, to the heat rising to head and my neck hairs standing up.  For whatever reasons, I was made to feel and think (and when I was younger, be physical) intensely, and people would see just a facet of me, usually the peaceable side, the side I give freely to everyone in my path; the other side, the one that says Dexter can be my best friend, must be earned.

So my code consists of a justice unfazed by whatever gruesome fate must be met by an individual who gleefully causes comparable pain and destruction of an innocent life.  Understanding this helps me come to terms with who I am, as Dexter had to come to terms with who he was, and to best focus my life in light of this.

My own personal code, in no particular order of importance:

  1. Seek truth.  Every good thing needs strong roots in truth.  Seek it within yourself first, so you can help others find it.
  2. Seek balance.  This is not about becoming homogeneous; this is about living life in such a way that you are truly happy and at peace inside.
  3. Seek joy.  “Face the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”  Walk towards and amongst the positive; shine so brightly that your light is contagious.
  4. Seek to grow.  Read, listen, learn, connect, record, reflect, venture, and think for yourself.
  5. Share what you find.  Contribute to the good of the world; let your knowledge be a platform for others to stand upon as they build theirs.
  6. Be kind.  Many people are hurting in the world, and your kindness may disarm their expressions of pain or salve them.
  7. Be open.  You don’t know everything.  If knowledge is power, and you need power to help or protect the powerless, stay open to keep learning.
  8. Be aware.  It is not enough to be kind or open alone. Know what you’re dealing with.  This is part of self-preservation.
  9. Be of service.  This is another way to contribute to the good of the world, and to honor #10.
  10. Be grateful.  Life has little meaning or joy without this.

Although not spelled out, Dexter actually did most of these things on my list, and I can say vice versa to his.  (Don’t be shocked – I’ll wager most of you can say the same thing.  😉 )

This code has been fairly consistent all my life.  Whenever I’ve failed to adhere to or protect it, it is like I’ve abandoned myself.  Spelling it out has helped me become more aware of it to maintain its integrity.

What about you? What is your personal code, the one that defines and directs the best of who you are and want to be?

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The Misconception of the Misconception of Bad People

MisconMisconBadGuys(Photo Credit: WiseWander)

This is where I will be frank.  Forgive me for sounding crazy.

Some people are just bad.

They are not just confused, misled, or poor victims of abuse and crooked government that should be given compassion, etc.

These are not people who made stupid, even terrible mistakes in life.

These are people who prey on the innocent, who prey on kindness, who study what “good” and “kind” and “trustworthy” look like, talk like, act like, in order to manipulate the system after they’ve manipulated their victims into a mangled pile of their selves.

These people are evil, bad to the marrow of their bones, and until we recognize that such individuals truly exist, we will not be able to properly protect the good, the normal, the innocent who become victims to such entities.

I used to be where some of you are right now – bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, love-for-all-and-all-for-love.  I would believe in the best of everyone, that the potential is there to be awakened, that there just needs to be kindness and generosity and goodness poured into them, and they would be touched and healed, and evolve.

While this is true for most, this is an absolute lie—a dangerous one—to prescribe across the board.

Our (oxymoron ahead) “justice system” has been played by such individuals because people mean well but don’t know well enough: that not all men are created equal, that “a fair trial” needs far more discretion and knowledge on the participants than the court has any control or interest in ensuring, and that the lax of demand for true justice spreads repercussions into our society like a crack on glass, fanning out into splintering shards.

The problem is that good people play by the rules and the not-so-good play by the feigning of playing by the rules, so they see and predict every move, and intercept and destroy, cheating all the way.

There is a reason why the shady like to do business in the dark: concealment is the best way to ambush, and ambush is an effective strategy to take over what is not freely given.  As long as people don’t know, or insist to not know, they foster successful victimization by these types.

Shine the light – know wtf we’re dealing with in this world.  That’s the first step to solving the problem.

(More to come on this when I start sharing my story.  Stay tuned.)

Related article: “These Babies Are Real: The Beauty of Authenticity

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No Smoke and Daggers Allowed in the Courtroom

NoSmokeDaggersInCourtroom

Before we can have a true system for justice, we have to fairly define the parameters of what is okay vs. not-okay to do to others.

How many times have you experienced as or witnessed the victim, the person who had something deliberately and unfairly imposed upon them by another, having to defend him/herself after taking the hit, while the perpetrator went scot free?  Frustrating, isn’t it?  And yet it happens all the time.  Why the eff is that?  Because people are allowing themselves to be distracted by dramatic tones and fancy hand flourishes in the circus court of life.  In the hubbub, a dust storm erupts and the victim is shanked.

Real-Life Case 1:  Precursor Perpetration Accusation

  • A young girl is molested by her uncle, who is then fumingly thrown out of the house by her mother.  The uncle’s brother, the young girl’s other uncle, says in his defense, “The punishment does not fit the crime.”  And rumors circulate that the young girl shouldn’t have been wearing tight tops, etc.  Um,  who’s doing the molesting?

Real-Life Case 2:  Guilt Deflection

  • A couple enable their 30 year old son to live at home, not work, not go to school, do drugs, and verbally and physically abuse his baby’s mother.  The mother seeks consolation from someone.  The mother of the dysfunctional son starts spreading false rumors about the “helper” to isolate the girl and turn the rest of the extended family against the helper.  Who’s doing the enabling? Who’s doing the abusing?

Real-Life Case 3:  Internalized Abuse

  • A young girl is raised seeing abuse from her biological father to her mother.  Unrelated, kids are teasing her in school.  As a teenager, she falls into a sexually abusive relationship.  As a young adult, she covers herself by branding herself with tattoos and piercings because she doesn’t think that she’s pretty, and is ashamed of herself.  Who were the ones saying ugly things? Who are the ones doing hurtful things? 

Real-Life Case 4:  Broken System

  • A teenager is trapped into the sex trafficking ring, subjecting her to abuse by her pimp and rape by 40+ men a day.  She gets caught by the police and booked and treated as a criminal while her pimp walks.  Who is psychologically and physically abusing these girls and women?  Who is selling their bodies to be tortured, their minds to be broken, their lives to be shredded?

I could go on, and I’m sure you could add your endless list alongside mine.  That being so is a quizzical misfortune.

Why do people believe the hype against the victims?  Why don’t they think and act accordingly?

1. People are lazy.   They are emotionally too lazy to put themselves in the victim’s shoes, but if someone yells “Witch!”, they want in on the excitement, and so jump at the chance to chant along.  They are too lazy to think, so they let the also mentally lazy, but in power, think for them, and let’s face it, it’s a lot of work to confront perpetrators.  So much easier to start bopping on the head of a victim who is already subdued.  These forms of laziness are also forms of complacency.  Complacency inhibits individual growth and breeds all sorts of societal disconnect and dysfunction.  (Solution: Care, damnit!)

2. People are scared.  They are afraid of what others might say, or of what might happen to those they care about who are responsible for hurting someone else, over what is just and fair.  (Solution: Grow a fair pair!)

Sadly, the general population is often a goofy herd of individuals that go along with their faces in the arses of their fellow herd members in front of them, not seeing where they’re being led, bleating when they hear a bleat.  And to be fair, sometimes it’s hard to see in the midst of the sea of fluff and noise.  One has to be willing to raise one’s head and look beyond the herd.

How can we be sure we’re not becoming part of the problem in this mis-assignment of accountability?

Let’s use the hot topic of rape as an example for this exercise.  The options given are a sampling of those often grouped together in this case:

          “It is not okay to ______ someone else.”   {dress scantily, seduce, rape}

Let’s plug in our options now:

1. “It is not okay to dress scantily someone else.”   First off, you can’t “dress scantily” someone else (unless you’re the wardrobe manager for a Victoria Secret’s fashion show); “dressing scantily” is not what you do to someone else.  One chooses one’s way of dressing as one pleases – hopefully with respect to children and/or cultural considerations.  In any case, to say that “dressing scantily” is a criminal act against another, or the cause of a criminal act, is invalid.  NEXT.

2. “It is not okay to seduce someone else.”  This is true if you or the other person is in a relationship with someone else, on a moral sense.  However,  seduction implies the seduction target’s willingness to be seduced; otherwise, you’re just trying to seduce.  In any case, along with #1, this also is invalid as a case for criminal violence or instigation, as explained here:

Rapist2

3. “It is not okay to rape someone else.”  That is all.  The chart below, found circulating online, illustrates this point:

Image(Usable as template for “Causes of Victimizing Acts Imposed from One or More Individuals to Another”)

It is not okay to molest a kid, it is not okay to abuse your baby mama, it is not okay to bully a school mate, it is not okay to physically and psychologically torment someone and sell violations of their bodies.

And, it is not okay to ignore these wronging acts, and worse, put the victim on the stand, behind the bars, or on the gallows.

Be willing to care, to think, to be brave.  And if you already are doing these things, clear the smoke, blow the whistle, shine light in the shadows; make a case for justice, every day.

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Forgiveness is Overrated (Why It’s Not for Everyone)

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This topic has been in my queue since I started this blog; it is not an easy one to approach.  But I think it’s about time to address it, and necessary for those struggling with this “obligation.”

I have wrestled with this subject for a few decades now, mainly because everywhere I looked, I would read or hear about the virtues and necessity of forgiveness, and it would make me reflect on my stance on it.  I want to do the right thing.  I want to be a good person.  I’ve finally come to the conclusion that this place of unyielding is fine.

Let me be clear: I’m not against forgiveness.  I just feel comfortable not dishing it out like Halloween candy: not everyone gets a forgiveness nugget, because I truly don’t think that everyone deserves it.  Besides, too many undeserving individuals get it regardless of their lack of remorse or compassion for the recipients of their transgressions, and they continue to offend because the good people of the world (understandably) insist on avoiding  due confrontation – the victims are too weak and tired and the witnesses find it much easier to tell them that they should have done things differently, should have tried to prevent it, or should just let it go, leaving the transgressors to continue their business of feeding off the well intentions of others and enjoying the suffering of the same.

I’m not being dramatic; I have had first hand experience dealing with such individuals.  It was my very naive, positively positive, recklessly trusting of humanity’s equality and best intentions,  indiscriminately kind and generous nature that situated me as a juicy sitting duck.  A sheltered and highly structured religious upbringing helped mold me as such, and had me accepting forgiveness as law for the longest time. If anything, it enabled the situation.

So let’s define “forgiveness,” or rather, what it means to not forgive.  Not forgiving, to me, means that if I were to see the subject offender on the street, I would not tsk tsk my head in compassion.  I would not, if the opportunity arose, allow them a free card from proper justice, and by that, I mean that they must be made to experience exactly what they put their victims through – see, feel as their victims saw and felt; anything less may stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t solve the problem.  I believe that only through such an alignment of understanding can a perpetrator have any chance for compassion and transformation.

I am not saying that I hold on to negativity or that I fester from anger.  Quite the opposite.  I have merely allowed myself the right to believe that some people are just truly bad to the marrow of their bones, and that unless an ultimate higher being of good (we will call God for simplicity’s sake) directly tells me to do so, I live my life happily and comfortably not forgiving such individuals.

Once upon a time, I was a person who believed that everyone had viable potential for goodness, and given the chance to experience it, they would blossom, change for the better.  I have learned that to cling onto this belief, towards some, is a disservice, and potentially an endangerment, to one’s own well-being.

I have seen how such individuals play the justice system and flip the tables to put their victims on the stand.  I’ve seen how many good people have been broken by these individuals, good people who could have contributed so much to society, their friends, their family, including their own children, but struggle to all but breathe every day.  I have a good friend who is a single parent to two beautiful children, blessings in disguise from rapes from the biological father, who continues to terrorize her to this day, and hides behind the legal entitlement of “father,” to stay connected to her, like keeping a mouse in a cat’s cage to toy with indefinitely.  Unforgivable.

I don’t feel sorry for them, for they are given far more credit and leeway than they deserve.  For these Unforgivables, there are the Ghandis who respond to their gleefully executed acts of terror to the innocent, with peace and compassion and understanding and forgiveness.  But truth be told, I am not one of them.  I don’t believe that the world is quite at a place where there is no need for people who see the Unforgivables for what they are and would deal with them accordingly, not equally to people who are lost, confused, mentally impaired.  The key characteristics that separate the Unforgivables from the rest of the human population are that they are fully mentally aware of what they are doing, enjoy causing suffering, and most of all, are unaffected and uninspired by kindness and goodness, but rather, target it to abuse and devastate.

I’m sorry, but not everyone is equal.  They’re just not.  Everyone may deserve the opportunity to be given compassion, love, kindness, forgiveness, but not everyone should be granted the right when proven to consistently and purposefully abuse such things.  You don’t get to keep a job if your track record proves you’re not a good employee.  You don’t get the same remedy if your illness is different from someone else’s.  And you shouldn’t get forgiveness if you know what you’re doing, you enjoy another’s suffering, and you target those you can make suffer the most; this is unlike people who make honest, even sometimes terrible, mistakes.

This is a very fine line, to forgive or not, and I want to say that, for the most part, forgiveness is a grace to embrace.  If not forgiving is taking too much real estate in your mind or spirit, if it colors how you treat the world, if in any way holds you down from feeling happy and at peace, and the subject isn’t as I’ve describe above, then it may fall into the forgiveness that is a necessity.  Most do, truly.

I was raised in a religion where I was lectured to forgive constantly.  Even after I escaped my situation, after a decade and a half of being traumatized, I was told that the burden of forgiveness was on my head.   I would spend several more years dealing with other people who grossly took advantage of my nature to help and give.  Again, the burden to forgive was on me.  I started to question everything.  I started to get angry, and I needed that anger to dissipate the guilt that kept me linked to the Sitting Duck Syndrome.

Years later, after all toxic people have been cut out, after I slipped back into my skin, unworn for several decades, I found it a little tougher, but still fitting very comfortably.  I listen more to my intuition and less to the the outside noise of people who haven’t walked a day in my shoes—nor cared to even hear me describe them—and yet are self-implied experts on what I should do.

I’m happier than I’ve been in decades.  I can reflect on my past as an introspective case study now, and I share my insights with an unemotionally muddled perspective.  Don’t get me wrong, emotions are still involved – our life experiences cannot be properly examined without emotional connection.  But the emotions are focused on compassion now, for the person I was back then, for the people who are humans having made human mistakes, and for every forgivable human being.

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