Polarization and Entitlement

Me, me, me. Mine, mine, mine.” It starts at a very early age, and if left to itself, this polarization and entitlement can expand and grow, like a cancer, infecting our society. With 7.4 billion people on our planet, we should start to find ways to coexist with less conflict.

You might be able to recognize the adult signs of polarization and entitlement and choose to be part of the solution for a better world.

polarization enitlement victim mentality you don t know me tolerance intolerance

I am the victim

“You don’t understand, I am the victim, here.”

When you see yourself as the victim of some kind of abuse, mistreatment or lack of respect, you polarize yourself away from the subject (person, place or thing) that has “wronged” you and greatly reduce the ability to resolve the issue without conflict. You have drawn the proverbial line in the sand and declared war on the situation.

Any further conversation or negotiation from this point forward will be in the form of debate. You post up and ready yourself for battle and start building your case to establish your affirmative position while imposing your view of how you have been harmed or disrespected. You are ready to fight.

You don’t know me

“You have no idea about who I am, or the life I’ve lived.”

To assume that no one understands me, my plight or my perspective, implies that it makes a difference. Of course, it is actually impossible for m to actually see anything from your perspective – you might be able to give me clues – but it is simply not possible. All of us are completely unique. Though we may share some things in common, no person can truly see anything from anyone else’s perspective (unless we can figure out how to do the Vulcan mind-meld) and at times, we all feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land.

Don’t trust anyone

“I don’t trust you. I don’t trust anyone.”

When I was young, I trusted people. If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s that you can’t trust anyone – I don’t care who you are – I cannot, and will not, trust anyone ever again, as long as I live.

Everyone is out to get me

“People are always trying to find new ways to put me down.”

Rarely does a day go by (or a moment, for that matter) that someone doesn’t disrespect me, falsely accuse or belittle me. I am an adult, I have rights and I demand to be treated fairly.

Sense of entitlement

“You owe me. I demand to be taken care of.”

Whether it is being respected, heard, vindicated or to exercise vengeance, my expression must win out and any and all resources available can be called upon to satisfy my basic needs, desires or initiatives.

The idea that everyone should be the same; treated the same, the world is somehow responsible for catering to your every need or whim and your knowledge of how to manipulate the system to get you what you want (for the most part) satisfies your basic need(s).

Stop Intolerance

If you want to live a full and free life, full of happiness and satisfaction (with a little disharmony thrown in for flavor and personal growth) you must stop polarizing yourself against others.

Once you hold fast to the idea that it’s me versus them, you have created an impossible situation that feeds the victim mentality and breeds discord.

It is not until we can wrap our heads around the idea that we are more the same than we are different. Instead of demanding our differences be recognized and respected, realizing – we are all human beings, sharing what resources are available, each making our own way, doing the best we can with what we have – we are all the same, and I love and respect you as much as I’d like to be loved and respected.

Sure, we love those things that create our own uniqueness and celebrate our individuality among the rest of us. We all have the right to our own ideas, ideals, philosophies, beliefs and those characteristics that make us different, but to impose them on anyone else would be disrespectful. Can’t we all just get along?

Tolerance suggests that we all have the inalienable right to think or believe whatever we want, as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s right to the same.

Barney said it best:

I love you
You love me
We’re a happy family

Until we can love and be loved – allowing each individual their right to their own perspective, without having to defend it – will we see true harmony in our society and/or the world.

Hurtful Words When Words Hurt

It never ceases to amaze me when someone can do something as simple as speech a particular sequence of words, maybe throw in some voice inflection and body language for flavor, that delivers an emotional impact equivalent to an MMA beat-down.

In many cases, words hurt more than actions.

Hurtful words when words hurtWhat’s happening when people hurt you without touching you?

When someone hurts you using nothing other than the spoken word the psychological and physiological pain come from either the intent of person delivering the phrase (it’s on you) or the recipient (it’s on me).

It’s On You

Someone can maliciously stack words that are hurtful in an attempt to hurt your feelings, make you feel bad, crush your self-confidence, make you sick to your stomach or beat yourself up over time causing mental anguish, sleepless nights and/or deteriorating health conditions.

Even though the assailant never touched you, a clever and devious person could launch a verbal campaign that could cripple another person.

We all can probably conjure up a memory of a time when someone’s hurtful words were delivered with the intent to make us cringe… and most (if not all) of us can recall a time when words were delivered with pre-meditated malice hurt us terribly. In some cases we might have rather been physically pummeled that hurt from deep within; a pain that can be more enduring than just getting beaten within an inch of your life.

Shame on the person who lashes out at another person, like that, though it is worth remember that it is said, “hurt people hurt people” which might mean that the person who is launching the verbal abuse or assault may be struggling with terrible pain from within themselves.

It’s On Me

Sometimes the spoken word can hurt us, when there was no intent in being hurtful in any way.

This can be a clear indication that we – the recipients – are pre-disposed, locked-loaded and ready to fire at the first sign of an attack. Seeking signs and certain words as assaultive causes to fight – launching our own assaultive stream of hurtful words as a counter-attack in self-defense – is the symptom of inner work that needs to be done where deeper healing may be required.

At the very least, it is embarrassing, when we wrongly interpret someone’s attempt to communicate with us as a psychological attack and start burning fences on a furry of ill-intended words with the veracity of a flame thrower.

Love Hurts

When we engage in a deeply personal relationship with another person, setting aside all our inhibitions, being transparent and totally honest (literally naked) can leave us very vulnerable. This vulnerability leaves us open to experiencing – not only the most magnificent feelings of all time but also – the most pain; more pain than could be delivered by any other individual.

When someone you love hurts you with their words, the initial response might be to accuse them of being psychologically abusive, to engage in a quarrel/shouting match or allow your own self worth deteriorate as you allow yourself to be victimized.

Yet, it could be easily understood as a potential misunderstanding if you could remember a time:

When you hurt someone you love

Can you recall an experience similar to this?

Let’s say you were communicating with someone you cared deeply about – someone you would never have the intention of hurting – yet, here they are defensive and accusatory that you have disrespected or attacked them verbally.

It’s not too hard, if you are able to find the space to imagine what if the shoe was on the other foot?

How to not let people get to you when words hurt

Here are a few brief and quick tools that you can use to help you diffuse an otherwise explosive emotional event prompted by hurtful words:

#1 Love Them

Giving you allowance for some personal space to have an initial reaction to the words that seem to have hurt your feelings – as soon as you are able to achieve some level of clarity – look for empathy.

Yes, they have had enough disregard for you to speak words that you feel are not pleasing to you. When you take it personally, you disregard them in kind.

If you can find clarity of mind, try to imagine what it must be like for him or her to be living the life they are living. Could this be a misunderstanding? Could it be his or her inner child crying out for love?

A little understanding from within (don’t try to diagnose, treat or interrogate them in this moment. Leave that for some future moment in time, if you’re so inclined) goes a long way in being able to imagine why someone might say something, like that.

If he or she is not a psychopath, send their inner child some love and understanding – like a virtual hug – to their heart, and find a kind word to say to them, if you can.

#2 Be Open

Sometimes words that are meant to hurt are a calling out for someone to connect with on a deeper level. It is true, “A kind word turns away wrath,” (Proverbs 15:1) and can open the door to a deeper level of communication and understanding. The key: be open.

Do not judge, intimidate or threaten them. Just invite them to share their feelings without challenging their beliefs or justifying their thoughts. This can have a huge impact and offer healing to the individual (especially the inner child) who desperately wants to be heard, but is afraid; often finding it more comfortable to be rude than transparent.

#3 Erase the Pain

Hurtful words can cause physiological and psychological pain. Sometimes the pain endures over time. I use a very effective and simple technique that only costs one cent. I call it:

Penny for Your Thoughts

To use this process, you will need some privacy, a copper penny and the ability to reduce your discomfort to a single emotionally-charged statement.

A. The statement

An example might be something like:

Penny for your thoughts“I hate it when (insert name) disrespects me and treats me like garbage. He’s (or she’s) a dirty rotten (insert expletive)!”

Make certain to include his/her name and some inappropriate name-calling (even if you might not do it in front of anyone in real life) and make sure that when you speak the statement you muster up all the bad feelings you possibly can.

Say the statement out-loud just to make sure it is an emotional match to how hurt or mad you are.

B. Place and charge the penny

There are three location of your body that you will hold the penny flat against your body with your non-dominant hand.

The Places

1. Head
Just above and between the eyebrows against your forehead
2. Heart
Over your heart
3. Stomach
Mid-way over your stomach-area.

Starting with the head location, hold the penny flat against your forehead, repeat your emotionally-charged statement (you should feel the negative emotion as much as you possibly can) and charge the penny.

The Charging

As you repeat your statement, tap the penny at a comfortably rapid pace with a finger (or multiple fingers, if that is more comfortable for you) of your dominant hand.

This charges the penny with the electrical components of the emotional charge from your body.

Repeat as many times as necessary, repeating the phrase and charging the penny at the head, heart and stomach locations.

Usually three rounds of head, heart and stomach will yield a major reduction in your level of pain and/or discomfort.

C. Discard the penny

Smile. You feel better. You’re done with that penny and statement. You will find that you can now verbalize that very statement without feeling the emotional pain connected to it. Congratulations!

It’s so effective, you might like to get another penny and try another painful emotion that you’ve kept bottled up inside.

Meet Miss Interpretation

I’m a communicator; it’s what I do.

How can something so simple, like stacking words in a certain order to convey one’s thoughts, be so complicated?

I can assemble a little 140-character text (laughing and giggling about how innovative, clever and humorous I’ve been in my word assembly) and press SEND.

Within moments, I receive a barrage of complaints, accusations and abbreviations, like OMG, WTF and/or blocked, unfriended, deleted or reported as spam.

Now, I feel bad because SHE reared her pretty head and stuck that cute little nose right in the middle of my attempt to reach out and communicate with others.

With a name like, “Interpretation,” you’d think she’d exert all her efforts in helping people understand what message I was trying to convey… BUT NO-o-o-o, she’s got to stretch, twist and garble it all so as to have the worst possible outcome.

Thats not what he meant to say Miss Interpretation misinterpretation

Little Miss Interpretation has been at this as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d try to express myself to my parents and get sent to my room or punched in the face. I’ve said things (and been fairly adequately quoted) from the pulpit, stage, conference room, boardroom, classroom or office with the best intentions, only to have MI mess things up for me.

There I was, fully intent on effectively communicating when she walks in and gets everyone all riled up, offended, objecting and ranting about something that wasn’t even intended to be included in what I was talking about. How does she do it?

“That’s not what he meant to say.”

~ Miss Interpretation

She gets inside people’s head and rifles through all their personal belongings and grabs words, ideas and thoughts that still hold emotional charge from the past and waves it in front of their face:

“See this! Look at that! Remember this? What about that?”

A relentless barrage of old information that is highly charged with negative emotion, causing the individual to think that danger may be ahead.

A person can’t help but recoil in self-preservation and protect themselves from such a vicious attack, and…

Forget everything I’ve ever said before this moment.

Now, all attention is on this word – or phrase – that harkens to a time that may have been dangerous (or at the very least unpleasant) and now I (the messenger who used the word or phrase with the best of intentions) am an assailant.

How does she wield so much power over us? And I’m the first to admit, that even though I work hard on kicking her to the curb every time she tries to interrupt someone else’s monologue, I too, have fallen victim to her manipulative influence and subject to mounting up to do battle or cut-and-run.

She does seem to have access to all my personal baggage accumulated since birth, and she’ll use anything she can get her hands on to derail (initiating fight or flight response) an otherwise potentially meaningful exchange of information between two people.

Why does she do it?

I don’t know… I think it’s because she hangs out with that little child inside us and that’s how she gets her kicks. Or maybe her intentions are good; it’s just that in an effort to protect us from harm’s way, she sees everything as a potential threat… even when it may not be a threat at all.

Just words

Exchanged between two people

Looking for a home

in our hearts and minds