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Suicide For All The Wrong Reasons October 17, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People.
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Wikipedia ~ Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms (in Public Domain)

Lately, we’ve seen a spate of suicides in America:

* young teens killing themselves after being bullied by classmates

* two adults who survived Hell’s Kitchen and later ended it all

* a college freshman who jumped off a bridge after being filmed during a homosexual liaison

In each instance, people rushed to condemn the “bullies of life” for pushing these individuals to the brink of self-destruction.

While I don’t condone bullying (and fervently wish that we would learn to get along and embrace our diversity), there is another common element to these suicides that seems to be overlooked when we rush to place blame on others for “causing” the suicides.

And that is our excessive concern with what others think of us.

We are trained from birth to look outside ourselves for acceptance from our peers.  We are socialized to “dress for success” and buy symbols to signal our “status” to the world.  We judge people based on the cars they drive, the houses they live in, the churches they attend, their sexual preferences, and the clothes they wear . . . and they repay the favor by judging us.

When we accept ourselves “as is,” we are more able to shrug off the irrelevant opinions of others.

Instead of poisoning ourselves by internalizing the hate, ignorance, and fear demonstrated by the bullies of life (who are trying to make themselves “bigger” by making us appear “smaller”), we embrace our individuality.

When we have the courage to swim against the stream of outdated societal expectations and values (whatever they are), we become strong and resilient.  We learn to survive and thrive, instead of tossing in the towel or cashing in our chips when others disagree with our lifestyle, our choices, or our unique point of view.

While these suicides (both adults and children) are tragic, they are also to be expected in a society that virtually mandates that we look to others to determine our self worth.  We are trained to measure our value as human beings by (1) what we have; (2) what we do; and (3) what others think of us.

We need to teach children that their reputation with others is not nearly as important as how they view themselves.  We need to show them by our example that the unsubstantiated, unwarranted, and malicious opinions of  bullies should NOT be the guiding light of their life.

When we learn to shrug off the misguided and narrow-minded opinions of others, we FREE  ourselves to be who we are and let our unique light shine . . . and we become far less likely to commit suicide for “all the wrong reasons.”

Quotes on Individuality: 

What you think of me is none of my business. ~ Wayne Dyer

He who trims himself to suit everyone else will soon whittle himself away.
~ Raymond Hull

Be who you are and say what you mean, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~ Dr. Seuss

You don’t need a permission slip to live your life.

Always remember that you don’t have to be what they want you to be. ~ Mohammad Ali

If you’re already walking on thin ice ~ why not dance?

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

To be nobody but yourself ~ in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else ~ means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~ e.e.cummings

Our infinite worth lies beyond all labels.

Related posts:  We Are Not The Labels We Wear * A Change Would Do You Good * The Surge in Gay Teen Suicide * A Voice of the Bullied (Colline’s Blog)

Bullies and Trolls October 17, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.
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In a recent blog post, someone said, inter alia:

“If you witness [potential] bullying, as an adult, you have an obligation to intervene and find out [whether it’s teasing or bullying].”

Wikipedia ~ Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms (in Public Domain)

I responded:

Hmm . . . I don’t think that ALL adults have an “obligation” to intervene.

Parents, teachers, principals, ministers, neighbors may have an ethical, moral, or legal obligation to look out for kids they know or for kids entrusted to their care.

But that obligation does NOT automatically extend to every adult who happens upon a potential situation involving bullying or teasing.

Parents need to look out for their kids, talk to their kids, and supervise their kids ~ whether their kids are bullies or victims.

The author of the original post, shocked by my response, immediately set out to cross-examine me . . . after changing the hypothetical in question by elevating the scenario from “potential bullying” to actual physical abuse.

My response:

This isn’t about what I would or would not do.

You made a universal statement that ALL adults have an obligation to look out for kids.

I challenged your statement and stand by what I said.

Just because someone chooses to have kids doesn’t impose an obligation on ALL other adults to watch out for them.

The author responded by saying, inter alia, that “Anyone that chooses to ignore situations like this is choosing to contribute to the harm of a child.”

I replied:

A parallel statement would be: Anyone who chooses to eat meat is choosing to contribute to the UNNECESSARY suffering of animals and the environmental destruction and devastation wrought by factory farms.

In my view of the world, EVERYONE should become a vegetarian. I believe that eating meat is a disgusting, unhealthy habit ~ and also morally and ethically wrong.

But just because I BELIEVE that doesn’t mean that everyone else has to look at the world the same way that I do, or that I can stand up and tell them that they ALL have an “obligation” to stop eating meat because “I say so.”

Too many parents bring kids into the world, expecting someone else (the government, the schools, the neighbors) to raise them, educate them, and look out for them. IMHO, that reliance on paternalism has to stop.

Raising children requires time, energy, money, an even temperament, and common sense ~ sadly, many parents are lacking in one, or all, of these areas.  People need to think long and hard about whether to bring children into a world that is already bulging at the seams.

In response, the author ran back to his posse to gather reinforcements for HIS view of the world.  One of his buddies came back and said, “Do NOT feed the troll.”

My response:

“Application of the term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used as an ad hominem strategy to discredit an opposing position by attacking its proponent.” Wikipedia.

Subjectively labeling someone with a different viewpoint as a “troll” (or a misanthrope) is akin to what bullies do when they feel threatened by opposing views held by others. 

When bullies BELIEVE the views and actions of others are “morally repugnant,” they resort to ad hominem attacks on the PERSON rather than civilly discussing the difference of opinion. 

They round up their posse and collectively tease, taunt, ridicule, finger point, hurl epithets, and apply JUDGMENTAL LABELS. 

Be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Gandhi

Maybe, when adults learn to engage in civil conversations about opposing viewpoints (without ridiculing their “opponents” or applying judgmental labels), our children will learn by example.

Until then . . . the world is apt to be filled with bullies.

Related posts:  Five Ways to Defeat Blog Trolls and Cyberstalkers * Tired of Paternalism * Free to Be Child-Free

Split Pea Soup October 17, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Hearty, delicious, nutritious, and budget friendly!

220px-Carrots_of_many_colorsSplit Pea Soup

3 ribs celery
2 large carrots
1 med. onion
2 Tbsp. oil
8 cups vegetable broth
3 potatoes, diced
1 lb. dry green split peas
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme (or basil)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. parsley

Cook celery, carrot, and onion in oil. Add remaining ingredients.

Simmer, covered, 45-60 minutes. Simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes until thick.  If desired, add 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach or 1 cup chopped cabbage during last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Purée with submersible blender to desired consistency.  As indicated in the photo, split pea soup need not be puréed until smooth.

Delicious served with seasoned croutons on top.