Taking a stand or protesting an injustice in your life isn’t always about being aggressive. Often, it can be a peaceful objection that helps you move toward honoring yourself.
Sometimes you have to take a bigger stand, even at the risk of loss. In this episode, I read an email from someone who didn’t appreciate my comments from the previous “Take a stand” episode I created. I talk about that and suggest a different approach to conflict resolution.
(The following podcast transcript has been modified for easier readability and to benefit the Deaf and hard of hearing)
I enjoy receiving emails from people who want to call me out about something I said on the air. They either challenge my comments or tell me that something I said was wrong or perhaps that my advice is bad.
I enjoy getting messages like that, not because I want to throw it back in their face or anything, it just that I get an opportunity to figure out if:
- I really know my stuff. Do I need more education in that area? Or
- I’m ignorant or
- I misspoke. If I said something that I totally didn’t mean to say. That can happen. Or
- They’re wrong. Maybe they misconstrued or misinterpreted something.
We’re going to figure that out. I’m going to go through this email. It’s all about an episode that I did a few weeks ago from this recording called “Sometimes You Have To Take a Stand To Make a Change in Your Life, Even If You’re Scared As Hell”.
Here’s the email:
“Paul, you are brilliant and talented when it comes to analyzing relationships, anxiety, and similar issues. That’s why I and thousands of other people listen to your insights about these topics. You are so helpful to people.”
Thank you so much! Let’s see where this is going though.…
“I’d like to offer you some “tough love” that you are free to take or leave, and it relates to political commentary. You did an excellent job referring to political issues without getting political in the episode called When People Don’t Like You.
However, you were triggering and offensive to some people when you wander too far into the political realm in the episode, “Sometimes You Have To Take a Stand To Make a Change.”
I suggest that close to none of your listeners are racist, and nearly all of them support racial equality and justice. However, these issues are complex and not all of the supporters, protesters are homogenous in their views, intentions and actions.
Let me pose a few questions:
Did you lose your business as a result of the protests?
Did you fear for your life when rioters wandered through your neighborhood?
Do you have to worry for the life of a loved one who is a police officer?
Do you have to worry about your police department being defunded?
Which of these actions do you support or oppose?
You are doing yourself your show and your audience a disservice when you make off the cuff political comments. Though you’re certainly entitled to your personal views, I hope that you will stick to your areas of talent on your podcast.
To show that there are no hard feelings. I will make a small donation today or tomorrow. Keep up the good work. “
Okay, well, thank you so much for sharing this. And you don’t have to make a donation because you have every right to speak your mind here and tell me what you perceived from that episode.
Again, thank you for sharing this. I read your email with great interest because I’m still, even today, trying to figure out what you mean because in that episode, I really wasn’t political. I mean, I set up the episode to talk about how you take a stand for yourself to make the changes in your life. And I used the Black Lives Matter protests as an example of a group of people that were finally fed up and chose to protest.
I used that as an example and I even said, “Yes, Black Lives Matter. That is absolutely true. And it’s important. And these people are protesting for what they believe in.” So, I was really interested in what you said. I listened and even printed out the transcript of that episode, and I can’t find anywhere that really supports what you’re saying I said
I have a feeling it has to do with the word “protester”. Because I don’t define a protester, as a rioter, a looter, someone vandalizing – someone who destroys property. I wasn’t talking about those people.
I was talking about protesters; I was talking about people that really felt like they needed to take a stand for what they believed in. And that was the entire vibe of the intro of how I was setting up that episode.
If you’ve listened to that episode, I would highly recommend you listen to it again if you misinterpreted that or you thought I was making a political statement that people of color should actually go out there and cause a ruckus. I didn’t say any of that.
In fact, in the transcript, I didn’t see the word “riot”, I didn’t see the word “looter”, I didn’t see the word “vandalism”, I didn’t see the word “destruction”. I didn’t talk about any of that stuff.
I talked about people taking a stand for what they felt is right. But I didn’t say what action they should take. I just said they should take a stand. And I’m not even talking about people of color, I’m talking about anyone.
Everyone should take a stand for what they believe is right.
And yes, that might be opposite of what I believe. That might be opposite of what you believe. But you should have the right to do that.
This would be a lot different conversation if we were talking about rioters and looters and people who destroy property.
Some people would say “But if they don’t destroy property, no one will listen.” But I’m not here to argue that. I’m not here to promote that, endorse it, or say it’s right or say it’s wrong. That’s not my point.
My point is when you feel there’s an injustice in your life, whether that’s disrespect; whether that’s being treated badly at work or at home, in a relationship; whether that’s being humiliated, embarrassed, shamed – Any of these things – hurt, physically hurt…
And of course with Black Lives Matter it’s about friends and family getting killed. When you feel there’s an injustice, like you are being treated unfairly, I still say it’s okay to take a stand.
I did not talk about rioting. I did not talk about destroying property. I did not talk about defunding the police and everything else that he is talking about here.
Again, I thank you. I’m not trying to put you down for this. I’m not trying to say you’re wrong. In fact, there is a mistake that I made that I’m going to tell you right now. But before I say that, I highly recommend you listen to the episode again, and quote me in what I said that supports what you’re saying that I’m endorsing, because I couldn’t find it.
When you record a show like this, it goes out into the world and you can’t interact with people. You can’t talk back and forth through the podcast. Nobody can stop what I’m saying to ask me, “Hey, what you just said, did you mean that?” Because it’s out there and it’s just a recording.
This is kind of how we have to deal with it. We have to deal with the aftermath. Whatever’s out there is out there. You can hear it, you can pick it apart, and you can quote the heck out of me and send it back to me. I want you to do that.
If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, and you’re thinking, “This is Paul making a political comment! A-ha!”, quote me! Tell me, “When you said, and I quote, this, this and this” then I can revisit my words and really understand the meaning behind either the misinterpretation or the miscommunication. I can look at something like that and say, “Oh, okay, when I said that, I see what you mean now.” Or I can say, “Well, you’re interpreting it this way, but this is really what I’m saying.”
What I’d like to tell you right now is that I do have a responsibility to make sure that what I communicate is done clearly enough so there is no misinterpretation.
With a one-way conversation like this, there’s no way I can do that 100%. However, it’s still my responsibility. It’s still my responsibility for me to communicate a message so that you don’t misinterpret it and think that it’s something else that it’s not.
But as hard as I may try to do that, it doesn’t always work. I was very careful with my words in that episode and very careful not to make any type of political statement. The only political statement I made was when I said, “The Black Lives Matter protest. Yes, Black Lives Matter. They absolutely do.” I think that was my only political comment. But I may be wrong.
Maybe there’s an interpretation out there that somebody could pick apart and say, “Well, when you said this, a-ha!”
But after listening to what I said, that is all I found. I looked through the transcript and I could not correlate what you said in your email with what I said so I’m not wholly with you on this.
I’m thinking that the word “protester” was misinterpreted. And again, that’s on me. Because if I said, “You need to protest,” or I said something like that, like “These protesters are doing what’s right.” I think I said something like that, “that they’re doing what they believe is right for them…”
Again, I’m not talking about the rioters and looters and the people destroying property. That’s a different argument. That’s a different conversation. Protesting in itself is standing up for what you believe is right and trying to make a change.
How you do that is certainly up to everyone to do it in a way that they feel is best. I’m not here to judge anyone’s way to do that. There are ways that I certainly may not agree with but I’m not going to talk about that because that is political and that is my personal opinion.
But either way, it doesn’t matter because my whole point with that episode and my whole point in the beginning of this episode is to say that protesting in itself is what helps create change in your life. Protesting in itself doesn’t always include some of the extremes that you see on the news.
I like to randomize my news sources and see and hear all kinds of opinions, and footage, and listen to different people. And I saw many protests where people were peaceful, they were standing up loud and proud saying what they wanted to say, holding up their signs it was peaceful. I thought it was great! There are many news sources that showed that.
Then there are news sources that show lots of destruction, lots of burning things down, lots of tipping cars over, lots of looting… And what a lot of people might get out of that is “all protesters are violent” or “all protesters are aggressive”.
I didn’t get that at all. I saw more peaceful protesters than non-peaceful ones. Even in that episode I talked about this young, white, teenage kid holding up a “Black Lives Matter” sign on the corner of an intersection. I thought it was amazing. Wow! Who does that? He’s all by himself, traffic going by, and he’s standing up for what he believes is an injustice.
Before you interpret this as a political message, my responsibility to you (the person who wrote or anyone listening to the show), is to make sure that what I say isn’t misinterpreted.
I do believe in something I learned in NLP a long time ago which is that the meaning of communication is the response that you get.
The person who wrote to me is responding this way because he felt, and maybe he still feels, that the meaning of my communication was that I was making political commentary. And from the vibe of his message, he was saying that maybe I don’t understand the fear that people go through. He is saying that I can’t understand because I don’t have a business that could be lost in a riot or be looted.
Or I can’t understand because I’m not a police officer, or I don’t know someone that’s a police officer. Or I’m not worried about the police department being defunded…
Those are all separate issues that have nothing to do with that episode I’m referring to. It has a lot to do with the Black Lives Matter protests though. Those protests expanded into many of the things he mentioned in his message to me.
But I wasn’t addressing those. I wasn’t making a political comment. Like I said, I made that one small possible political comment that they (black lives) absolutely do matter. But as much as I actually wanted to find my mistake or my crossing the line or actual political commentary, I couldn’t find it.
I really listened. I looked at the transcript and I couldn’t find it. If you find my political commentary, throw it at me! I always address people who call me out on the air because I want full transparency and I want the listeners to make their own decisions and judgments about me.
I put it out there so that everyone knows that I’m trying to be as open as I can about everything I talk about. I’m not trying to hide anything. I’m not trying to inject any political agenda. I’m not trying to make anyone lean left or right. I’m not trying to do any of that.
I’m just here doing what I do best. Like he said, I analyze relationships, anxiety, and similar issues, you’re right! I think I do that best as well. I really do stay away from the political spectrum. I do have personal opinions, but they don’t matter.
My personal opinions don’t really matter unless they help to empower you. And I have shared personal opinions on this show before. I usually do not go near the political spectrum because people can misinterpret, people can believe I might have an agenda, people will start to suspect there might be something more like I’m starting to shift the show or shift my ideology.
There are all kinds of things that could stem from that so I usually stay away from it. And this is a perfect example of it. Again, he may not be wrong in his mind. To the letter writer, I’m not saying that you’re wrong in your mind. What you heard is what you heard, and what you interpreted as what you interpreted.
But when I look back at that, going into recording that episode, I had no intention of making it political. And listening to it again, I didn’t hear anything political except for that one comment. And it really was just a setup for standing up for yourself and standing up for the injustice in the way that empowers you and in a way that stops the injustice. It stops the bad behavior of others.
I’m just saying when we bring this back to the local level. And I mean, very local. I mean you personally. When there’s an injustice, when somebody is disrespecting you, when somebody is treating you badly, it’s probably not a good idea to let it continue.
The episode I’m talking about had to do with discovering anything that’s radioactive in your life, and taking a stand against that, getting away from the radioactivity, or at least finding a way to dissolve or diminish it. Because that is vital.
I can’t tell you how many times there has been radioactive activity in my life (I just use that as a term). Radioactivity in the sense of, “Oh, I got this mean boss” or “I got this terrible relationship”, or “This neighbor just won’t leave me alone. What do I do? It’s so…”
I look at is radioactive. It’s very toxic. It’s those moments when you’re asking yourself, “What do I do?”
Does that mean you should always just stand up and say “Back off and get out of my face”? No, it doesn’t mean that. And it doesn’t not mean that. It just means you have to do something.
And if you’ve done a lot of “something’s” for weeks, months, years, and nothing has changed, then maybe you’ll have to do something more. Maybe you’ll have to do something bigger.
Again, don’t misinterpret that. That doesn’t mean I want you to take it to the extreme. I like the systematic approach where you start off being nice:
“You know what, we’ve had our differences, I just want to say I’m sorry for whatever I did.” If you’re in an environment that’s toxic, and you just can’t seem to work out the differences, I personally like to take a step out of the situation by picturing myself getting out of the middle of this thing that is toxic, then I approach it with a fresh perspective. I step back in it, then I just apologize even if I know I’m not wrong.
This may not be for you, but this is my first step. My first step is, even if I know I’m not wrong, and it’s been going on for a really long time, I will probably start off with an apology. This is how my apology would go:
“Look, I just want to apologize for anything that I might have said that might have been misconstrued, or misinterpreted, or anything that I said that might have come from a place of ignorance. I want to apologize for all of that because I realize that I’m not perfect. I realize that I have a lot of learning to do, and I just want to say I’m sorry.”
This doesn’t say, “Hey, it’s all my fault.” It just says, “I take responsibility for how I interpreted things, how I communicated. And for anything that I might have said…” and I might add this too, “…that sounded aggressive or hurtful. I just want to say I’m sorry.”
I think that’s a great way to approach things. It may not work for you like I said. And this may be very context-dependent. Depending on the context, like an angry neighbor that you’ve been angry with each other for years, in a context like that I would probably just say, I’ve got to get past this. I can’t just go outside and try to avoid my neighbor every day. I’ve got to go over there apologize.
And then my girlfriend would be like, “What? It’s not your fault, it’s his fault! It’s nothing you did. It’s what he did!”
But I would want to clear the air. I would want to take the first step because it’s a vulnerable step. It’s a place that I may not really want to go because I just want to stick my finger up at him and say, “I’m not doing this anymore with you, you’re the problem.”
But let’s just see where this goes. I’m going to try to take all the wind out of his sails, all the negative energy of what’s driving him to be so upset with me all the time. And just be vulnerable. And just say “Look, I’m sorry” along with everything I just said, and see what he says.
And he could say “You should be sorry, you’re a son of a… and I can’t stand you. And I can’t wait until you move.” He could say that. But at least I tried. If that’s where our dispute ends up, at least I tried!
But I guarantee you, well almost guarantee you, it usually never, ever goes in the direction of him apologizing to me. Or in your life, someone acting badly around you apologizing to you. It usually doesn’t go that way. They like to stay in their righteousness. They like to be in that place.
Again, depends on the person and the context. But typically, this is what I see. And probably what you see as well. Someone who’s always treating you badly, and angry or upset with you is probably going to stay in their place. This is why I prefer this technique. It’s not really a technique, it’s just a different approach.
My approach is I’m going to apologize, “Hey, I’m sorry for this and this and this…” and then see what he says, or whoever it is you’re dealing with, a woman, a man, anyone. And they could say, “Too bad. I’m still angry at you. And I’ll never stop being angry with you. Get off my lawn.”
That might be the way it is. But you did my part. I like to look at that as you passing the baton – you have given them the ball – and now they can either toss it back, and now you’re playing and it’s great. Or they keep it and there’s nothing more you can do. You’ve done your part. You brought over the apple pie and you said “Hear, let’s let bygones be bygones and just move forward” You’ve done your part! They could still be angry, and that’s fine, you’ll just have to deal with it.
Or they could go in the total opposite direction, “Hey, you know what? I’m really glad you said that. I was really angry for a long time. And I’d like to apologize too.”
I can already hear people saying, “Yeah, that’s never going to happen.” But it can. I’ve seen this happen. When I step up and apologize, even when I don’t feel like apologizing because I still want to be right and keep my anger and want to make sure that they know they haven’t beat me they have no control over me… When it goes the opposite direction and you are the first to stand up, wow, this can change a lot of things. This can change the situation completely. That radiation could just disappear.
Imagine the person that is always treating you badly, and you say, “Look, I’m sorry about how I came across. Maybe I was ignorant. Maybe I was this and this. I just want to apologize. I truly am sorry.” And they said, “I am so glad you said that. I was so angry for so long and you saying that it makes me realize that perhaps I was a little harsh on you as well.”
Now you’re getting their apology in any way they give it. They may not say “I’m sorry”, they may not say “I forgive you”, they may not say any of that stuff but you’re going to sense their energy, or they’re going to hear the inflection in their voice. But they only came to that place because for the first time they feel safe going there.
This is what happens when you open up the space for someone and you start off by being vulnerable yourself. The space that you just put yourself in becomes available to them as well.
That can be huge. That can be the biggest step forward that you both can take to rectify the situation, to get past it. Again, this may not work. It may go in the opposite direction but either way, you end up giving them the ball. You end up doing your part. What’s great about that is no matter which response they have to what you just said, they now have to sit on it. And if they’re the type of person that wants to stay right and wants to stay angry with you, they’re also going to have that little battle inside them that says, “It makes me so angry that they apologized but they did, and now I have to battle this because that’s really what I wanted them to do. I wanted them to admit they were wrong, but I’m still angry and… What do I do with this?”
So now they have this other battle that they’re fighting inside and hopefully they won’t let it eat away at them. Hopefully, they will approach you and say, “I’ve been thinking about it. And I would like to get past this too.”
This describes an ideal scenario, I know. It’s usually never this easy. But I do believe it’s a good approach. This may not be a protest like I was talking about at the beginning, but protesting in general, by itself, is simply expressing your disapproval. You’re expressing something that you don’t like and that you would like to stop.
If your neighbor continues to park on your lawn and you’re getting sick of it, you might have to stand up and protest. You might have to go over there and say, “Hey look, could you please stop parking on my lawn?” And they respond by saying, “Well, it was my lawn before you bought the house so I’m going to continue parking there.”
They might say something like that! And you might have to go over again and say, “I really don’t want to do this, but if you don’t stop parking on my lawn, I’m going to have to call someone.” And hen of course, the feud starts. And you go back and forth. Then the anger. Then there’s somebody burning out in the lawn. Then they don’t admit that they did it.
It gets worse and worse and worse, and now you have a terrible neighbor that you can’t stand. What do you do from that point? It gets so entrenched in the emotional weeds that you really can’t even stand looking at each other anymore. And now you have this anger all the time, you can’t even go out of your house without feeling it.
That’s why I talk about there being a time when you have to stand up and do something about it. And standing up doesn’t always mean going against the grain. It can also be kind of a reverse approach. That approadh may not work for the Black Lives Matter protest, that’s a whole different issue and I’m not here to comment on that. But in this scenario where you bring it back to the most local you can get: yourself, how do you stand up for yourself?
What do you do so that you can stop the injustice and stop the bad behavior? It could be that you have to take a stand or, in this example above, call the authorities or a site surveyor and get your land surveyed. You have to do something. You have to call a lawyer or somebody.
Or you could approach it the other way, which seems like the very opposite thing that wouldn’t work, which is approaching it from an apologetic sense. In a way that you take responsibility for any miscommunication, just like I started this episode with saying that, “Yeah, it’s possible that I absolutely said something that was misinterpreted, or actually miscommunicated by me.”
And if that was the case, I do apologize for that. And I am sorry to anyone that may have mistaken my words as being insensitive or ignorant or under-informed or whatever it is. I am truly sorry. And it certainly wasn’t intentional. I mean that.
I think that’s a good approach to any situation, is to walk into it humbly and say, “You know what? You could be right. You could be right about everything you said.” This person who wrote could be right about everything he said. I don’t think he is, but he could be.
The key is, I’m open to being wrong about what I believe is right. And that helps me get through the day. Again, it may not work with bigger issues. It may not work with these global issues I’m talking about.
I’m just talking about what affects me and what affects you personally, and what you can do to make your day a little better. What I talked about today may or may not work depending on your situation. But approaching something humbly and showing someone that you’re being vulnerable, and that you are dropping your armor and your fists, and you’re standing there knowing that they could attack you – In this vulnerable position, you’re actually putting a lot of trust in them to not attack you.
It’s very scary. And this approach won’t work for every situation (you have to pick your battles wisely), but in the examples I talked about in this episode, when you’re at work or in your relationship (yes, I know some relationships can be dangerous), or in a group of people, or when you’re alone with another person, this could be the approach that helps you get change what may be an injustice in your world.
These are all situations that perhaps may work with a humble approach first. And of course, some approaches simply can’t be humble. You could have already tried and been humble, and done everything you possibly could, but nothing changed. Which brings us back to my original point:
Sometimes you have to take a stand, even if you’re scared as hell.
Sometimes you do have to take a stand to make a change even if you’re scared as hell – even at a risk. For example, I tell the story all the time when my stepfather showed up at my mom’s house after they were separated for a couple months, that was the first time I had to stand up to him.
I was in my 40s. He shows up after they’ve been separated, and he’s really not allowed in the house. And there I was, I hadn’t seen him in years. And for the first time I chose to stand up for him at the risk that I believed he would punch me.
I truly believed it would happen. I stood up to him and said, “I’m sorry, you can’t come in.” It was probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. But because I did it, because I stood up to him that day, it strengthened me. It filled my integrity and my character. It made me feel mentally strong.
It strengthens you when you stand up for what is right for you, especially when there’s risk. Because if there’s risk there’s usually a fear of loss. Because you might fear losing your job, losing your income, losing your security, losing your house, losing your life!
You might have these fears. And I’m not saying you should go risk your life. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that sometimes we equate loss with losing our life. Sometimes, we’re in a situation where we think, “Oh my God, if I lose my house, it’s over. If I lose my job, it’s over. If I lose the person I love, it’s over.”
We can put absolute conclusions on our thoughts and convince ourselves that it will be the end and it will be over.
It can be scary, it can hurt. You can be full of fear going through it. But this is what I’m talking about. When there’s an injustice, when there’s someone treating you badly, when you’re not being treated fairly, sometimes you do have to stand up for yourself even at the risk of loss.
This is the gray area that could be misinterpreted and I don’t want it to be. I don’t want you to stand up to someone that beats you up and hurts you. I don’t want you to do that. You might want to do it but I don’t want you to do it. I hope you don’t do it because I don’t want you to get hurt.
And I don’t want you to feel like you’re going to lose your life or you’re going to be in a mess, and you’ll end up in the hospital or you’re going to lose your home. I don’t want any of that to happen to you.
I want you to have a great life! I want you to be able to get rid of the toxic people in your life and get out of the toxic situations in your life, so that you don’t have to face those every day. That terrible neighbor, for example. You don’t want to have to face that every day so you can take the approach that we talked about in this episode, or you can stand up at the risk there could be loss.
A good example of this, (this is probably a terrible example) but it’s a good example in my life is that when I was in like, sixth grade I think, there was a kid, I think his name was Brian, in the school that I just started going to. I was going there for several weeks, and this kid, I’ll call him Brian, kept coming up to me and saying, “Hey, I want to fight? Let’s fight!” For no reason!
I did nothing to him. I didn’t want to fight. I was not a fighter. I was the biggest placater, I was a people pleaser, I was the balancer, I was the middle child in my family. I didn’t want to fight. I didn’t even know how to fight.
But this kid kept coming up to me, “You want to fight? Come on, let’s go outside, let’s fight.” And I was getting sick of it, but I didn’t know what to do because I was so scared. So I finally went home and told my dad (I was living my dad at that time in my life), and I said, “Dad, this kid keeps coming up and asking me a fight. I don’t want to fight. I don’t know what to do.”
My dad said, “You know a lot of them are just talk. You just have to call their bluff.” I said, “What? I have to call this bully’s bluff? Then what? What if he hits me?”
I forget what my dad said. I think he said something like, “Well, then he hits you.” I thought, “What!? I don’t want to be hurt!” He said, “You’ll get over it, you’ll be fine. Sometimes kids fight.”
I thought that’s nuts! You want me to get into a fight? He said, “Of course I don’t want you to get into a fight. But kids like that, they just talk. They just talk. So, that’s my advice.”
I went to school the next day and I’m thinking, “I can’t say this. I can’t say ‘All right, let’s do it.'” But what I did was decide that it was worth the risk because I was really getting sick of getting picked on. I was getting sick of it.
I thought “All right, if I have to take a punch or two to stop this from happening, I’ll do it.” Again, I’m not giving you this advice. I’m saying this worked for me. I’m saying that sometimes you have to take a stand even at the risk of loss.
So, here comes Brian once again. Brian, as usual says, “Hey, let’s go out and fight. You want to fight? Come on, let’s go out and fight.” And I said, “Alright, let’s do it. Let’s go out and fight. You’ve been asking me every day. Let’s go do it.”
He pauses and looks at me kind of funny, then he says something I totally didn’t expect, which was, “Oh, no, man, I’m just kidding, you’re cool, you’re cool.”
And I just sat there.
I probably had a lot of curse words going through my head. I was thinking, “You son of a… Every day you’ve been bullying me, you’ve been intimidating me, you’ve been making me almost cry. And now you say you’re just kidding.”
And all it took to change that was me standing up for myself at the risk that I could be in a fight. And as awful as it was to go through that moment built character. That moment strengthened me both emotionally and mentally. It changed me.
It didn’t fully change me. I was still kind of a scaredy-cat. I still didn’t want to fight. But it proved something to me. It proved that I could do something that I didn’t think I could do. Because I “knew” I wasn’t going to say “Yes, let’s fight.” It was never going to happen!
But my dad, he mentored me. He said, “Just say yes, let’s go fight. Let’s do it.” And when I did that, I discovered something in myself that I didn’t know was there.
That’s what can happen. This is the kind of change that can sometimes happen at the “local” level, inside you. This is the kind of change that needs to happen in you so that you don’t walk around in fear.
I don’t want you to walk around in fear. I don’t want you to walk around thinking that people have something over you all the time and they’re always threatening you or they’re always upset at you and you can’t figure out why or whatever it is.
I don’t want you to walk around like that. Nobody wants to walk around like that. Of course not. So I look at everyday situations like relationships and jobs and people in the grocery store, things that just happen on a day to day basis to most people, and I think ‘how much do we let people mistreat us? How much do we let people disrespect us?’
That doesn’t mean you should just tell them “Okay, let’s fight.” That’s not my point. That’s not my point at all. It’s about the repeated disrespect, the repeated injustice, the repeated bad behavior. If it’s continuing over and over again, then yes, it might be time to take a stand for you to show that you care about yourself; to show that you have more respect for you than anyone does. And you’re willing to stand up for yourself and take the hit.
Not that you want that to happen and not that I’m suggesting you get into any physical altercation. I’m saying that sometimes we limit ourselves in what we think we can do because we think of the worst-case scenario and then we don’t do it because it’s just too scary.
When you start to surpass that fear and start to live in integrity with what you want, in alignment with what you value in your life, and you honor yourself and you show up as a good person, and you’re still being treated unkindly and unjustly, that maybe it’s time to take a stand that you haven’t taken before.
Maybe it’s time to speak up even at the risk of loss.
And that is scary. And I want you to be careful with that because some people won’t be “joking” like the example with Brian above. Some people will take it farther so you have to be careful.
At the same time, for me, if I’ve had enough, I’m going to stop it. I’m going to put a stop to it one way or the other. And if I can’t stop them, I’m going to get away from them. Because you can’t stop some people. Some people are just wildcards and you kind of have to stay away from them.
I hope the essence of my message comes across today. I want you to have the best life possible. No one should have to worry every day about that jerk across the street, or that jerk in the office, or that jerk in the grocery store… No one should have to worry about that kind of stuff. This is just one approach to many of life’s challenges.