Catalyst for Change (pt3)

I don’t want to get caught up in the story of my last job. Part of being able to let go of the past is getting it out of my system and leaving it there – which I was able to finally do in, Truth be Told.

Did I hate people from there? Yes. Without a doubt. Did I hate what was done to me? Yes. Am I claiming that I’m totally blameless? No.

I said in my last piece that I hit rock bottom at my old workplace. I was consumed with hate for years – at least half my working life. I’m not going to lie – that would have had an impact on my situation. Did I turn up still drunk from the night before? More times than I can count. Is anyone else responsible for this behaviour? Can I or should I excuse it on “them starting it”. No. That was me, 100% me. And I’m happy to take responsibility for it.

But the bullying and slander were real – and not having my physical coping mechanism in this situation really did a number on me. I didn’t know how to deal with a bully any other way than to hit them until blood came out. There were so many points in my story where we were in a position for me to just turn my back and walk away. And because I’d never processed a single thing that happened to me – I didn’t understand that that was a real option. Until about this time last year.

My decision to change wasn’t a snap-of-the-fingers-and-everythings-right-with-the-world moment. Not at all. In fact it’s been a painfully slow process where I have slipped back into my old ways, numerous times.

To have been able to get here – I’ve needed to do something that I successfully avoided for 30 years. Have a good, hard look at my actions and reactions and put my own values in perspective. I finally started to process a lot of the things that happened in my life and remove them from the equation that always seemed to equal hatred and resentment. Although it wasn’t part of what I set out to achieve – I have also found processing these events has helped me to move on from a lot of fears.

It all started with the very basic notion that equality only works if everyone is equal. You can’t pick and choose who you want to respect if you support equality. It’s not a term just for LGBTQ or just for women or just for Christians or just for white people. It means that everyone you come across is a human being first – the other stuff just makes them an individual. No one life means more than another. The delusion that an one life has a higher intrinsic value than another because of the country or religion of birth is dangerous – and it’s not new, it’s been around since the dawn of time, rearing it’s head periodically, for instance in 1930’s Germany.

Ever single person that has hurt me is first and foremost a person – I can’t take $10 off their value because they laughed at my sports shoes – it doesn’t work like that.

A saying that stuck with me from childhood. Treat other people the way you’d like to be treated. It started making a lot more sense to me later in life. If I want things around me to change – I need to take the first steps regardless of how other people act toward me. I will not react to someone having a bad moment or being hangry.

I’ve put a lot of thought into how a simple, poorly thought out statement can hurt. A seemingly innocuous statement. For example “God is just an imaginary friend”, 10 years ago, I might have actually said that. Now – there is no way. Why? Because in this example, faith is a real thing, it’s an important part of peoples lives. Just because it’s not important to me doesn’t mean everyone should feel the same. No mater how you look at it, your attacking one of the cornerstones of their person. It’s quite literally a personal attack.

Let me put it this way – there is this big discussion on how everyone is offended all the time. Let’s flip that on it’s head – why do you feel the need to purposefully offend people, then complain when what you’ve said has the desired effect? This door swings both ways. I find with most people one of these cornerstone attacks is usually in response to reading something that doesn’t correlate to them.
?So? Why do you care about what other people believe? Why is it so important that you destroy their foundations so they believe your way? How could you be so arrogant that you think your way is the only way?

My way is not the only way – hell, it might not even be the right way or a good way. But it’s what works for me and it’s evolving which is all I can expect from myself.

The most recent thing I’ve been dealing with is bullying – and yeah, this probably should have been the first thing given it was the catalyst. I said in Part 1 that bullying is a learned behaviour. I was horrified to glance inward and find out that I was one of the teachers.

Younger people learn from adults examples. So at my first school – the kids were learning bullying and intimidation from teachers as well as other students. One day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed – doing one of my regular sanitisations, I saw a meme. This was just a photograph of someone who looked different… that had been turned into something that hundreds of thousands of people point at and laugh. I don’t know this persons story – this could be their year book photo… and it’s been turned into a meme? It was at that moment I realised I was perpetuating bullying, whether intentional or not. I looked further and there was horrific things said about personalities on a TV show… ordinary people who put themselves out there on TV to make a dollar… where now the target of cruel hate campaigns. The more I looked, the more I found. Belittling people for their appearance, for having the balls to be on TV, for their beliefs… for EVERYTHING. People were picking apart other people. It’s not ok under any circumstances – but when you don’t even know that persons story? It’s not funny guys – it’s bullying, plain and simple.

I would dare anyone to scroll through their feed and have a look at how much entertainment at other people expense there is… just how much bullying is perpetuated. Then I look at my friends list… there are 12 year old kids following me… learning what’s acceptable from my actions.
Without even realising it – I was adding to the problem. I was potentially teaching kids to bully and normalising it.

There was a good long while there I was disgusted in myself for not picking up on my actions earlier. Part of this process is dealing with my self hatred as well – which is something I’ll be working on for a while yet.

These are inflammatory views. No one likes to see themselves as a bully. But somewhere along the way I realised I’d become one. In some small way I was adding to the problems I’d seen. So I just stopped.

During this very long process of reflecting and redefining my values, I have been focusing on myself. Because my development is my business alone. Like it, don’t like it, I don’t care, it’s got nothing to do with anyone else.

What I have found is that I have less in common with some people in my circle – which makes it difficult to strike up a conversation. It’s made me evaluate how many of my relationships were born from hate. Hate of a mutual person. Of a group of people. Of an ideology. So as I’ve stripped back the layers of hate I’ve built in more degrees of separation. My own personal evolution has put up barriers that I wasn’t expecting but I feel like that’s part of the experience as well.

There are so many things I have no control over in this world. But I can control the way I act and react to stimulus. So that’s exactly what I’ve done… but it seems whatever I do (or in some cases don’t do) is a point of frustration to others. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never be universally ‘liked’. But I’m on the road to being able to look at myself in the mirror and I feel like perhaps that’s more important.

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