By Anne Leighton
I learned the hard way that—even–pleading with my “friends” doesn’t get them to help you. If I’m down and feel someone—that I’ve loved for years– has hurt me–it’s difficult to convince mutual friends to help us mend fences. That shouldn’t be the case.
Lack of kindness shouldn’t be the case, either, in customer service or public service. But sometimes it is. It’s time to find humor in those people’s behaviors and amplify it back to them, instead of responding in anger.
These are some of the coping skills I’m learning in dealing with apathetic people or leaders looking the other way and putting me down when I ask for help:
- Understand that most misunderstandings can be worked out. I’ve realize that the misunderstandings that include gossip and dishonesty are based on people that play games with others. To tell if these people are deliberately messing with you, stand up for yourself; tell them you see the behavior, and let them know how you’d like them to correct it. If they don’t own up to what they did, or make excuses, or deny their behavior, they’re not going to learn from their mistakes or they will continue to be dishonest. Bottom line—their stupidity is their loss.
- It’s time to connect with new friends! I joined two groups–Toastmasters (to improve my interpersonal and spoken word skills) and RAMPD (a group for disabled music industry professionals). Recently, I found out that one of my fellow publicists in RAMPD is also a Toastmasters’ member—musician Tabitha Haly ( www.tabinyc.com ).
I’ve always shopped locally—even in the Pandemic. If you’re cheerful and optimistic, you’ll make friends as you talk with the shopworkers and customers. They may, even, have an activity like weekly dancing, local government, skill clubs, that you can join.
3. In challenging moments, use your common sense to prevent fear. Be curious—keep interested with a poker face and take in information.
See what resources are out there for your healing. Contact any charity that has “bullying” or names of famous people in their organization’s name. If they can’t help people with fence-mending, they’ll have suggestions for groups that might. There are mediation groups in urban markets; the phonebook is your friend. Evaluate the charities, as well. If they aren’t willing to help you, see what their mission actually is and who they suggest to help you.
My fur rises if a Public Servant like a politician or police officer isn’t willing to help. Try at least 3 times for them to help. After that, decide if it’s an important battle. Once in a while, if this public servant is unreasonable, submit a complaint with local government. If a public servant was cruel to an underdog—even if it’s you—report them to a relevant (local, State, or Federal) government of the “misdeeder.”
One season, after I was cyber-bullied by someone I didn’t know, I asked a community member for help in mending fences. He said he’d help, and asked what happened. Instead of helping, he said “Oh, don’t worry about it, they’re just having fun.” I felt like he was just interested in gossip. I wrote to him twice, and he didn’t respond. Ultimately, because this guy was a Bernie Sanders campaigner, I sent a note to Bernie’s office with a request, “could you please get him to help, which he said he’d do?” They asked him! When that happened, I knew that I’d been right all these years—the importance of talking things out to mend fences.
4. Learn to discern kindness and cruelty. People are speaking out on social media about how they’re on the receiving end of mean behavior when they least expect it. Sometimes we put up with it. Other times we say, “Oh no, you’re not going to treat me like that.” Daily, I’m hearing about or reading different people either accepting this treatment or standing up to bullies and pushing back.
I notice negativity in schadenfreude ways. On social media those that post the laughter icon to someone’s misfortune might lack kindness—take time to see what they’re about. It might be politics, which is something I’m not going to address in this article.
Join me in demanding sanity; we can speak direct to the people when they are mean, and tell them you’re not taking it any more. If we’re living love, even to the point of wishing we could talk sense in this bully, then we want kindness. The other person does not.
Repeat: If all you’re showing in your behavior is humanity and peace, and you’re giving that to the universe, then you’re fine.
Repeat– If you’re being nice, and people aren’t—you’re not crazy. Don’t listen to them.
Also, this kind of negativity has been around for centuries.
5. When people–you love–act mean, you’re bound to be unhappy and to cry and seek out help. Reach to your counselor, social worker, someone that’s a trained ally. Sane people seek out help, and those mental assistants are paid to help you, because they have an appropriate education.
As I write this story, one news story contrasted kindness and meanness. The Governor of Texas complained that the U.S. government was turning a blind eye to parents across America, as we were supplying baby food formula to illegal immigrant children on the border–during the formula shortages. That’s a mean thought and statement.
Bravo’s Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, tweeted, “All babies should be fed. Period.” That’s a nice and caring statement.