May 23, 2015

Top Examples--We're all Imperfect




Think about it: who’s perfect? Nobody! Every one of us has quirks, or baggage. Some of us have obvious physical or mental limitations. Others have hidden setbacks. We may have any of the following:
  • Crippling fears 
  • Abuse in our past 
  • Anger management issues 
  • Addictions 
  • Chronic health concerns

If we are all flawed, why do some of us feel we have the right, or the need, to harass those who may have more obvious “imperfections”? That’s a good question!


I propose that people with limitations are judged for three reasons:
  • They slow us down. (As a society, we have never been more impatient, self-centered, and angry.) 
  • They provide a convenient excuse for some people to feel superior. 
  • We may feel they are “different” from us. That’s always intimidating. (Deep inside, we fear what we do not understand. Many of us act out that anxiety with anger.)
Examples of Mistreatment

Karen

She is a strong lady I met online. She has seizures. I assume that means she has epilepsy. During her school days, Karen was called names, lied about, and held down and beaten up by groups of girls.

Jennifer

She is another friend I met through social media. She had a brain tumor and asthma. While in school, Jennifer was bullied so severely she felt she was going to stop breathing.  She was exposed to hitting, getting her hair pulled, being spit upon, and various threats. A fellow student actually said she hoped Jennifer would die.

My Story (Part of it)

I was harassed during my entire school career. However, I would like to focus on the mistreatment I received at several jobs.  I am gluten intolerant; but, I didn’t know that until about eight years ago. 

To make a long story short, eating gluten for decades messed up many systems in my body. Also, it damaged my thought processes. It made me socially awkward, and it slowed my thinking down.

I was fired from two positions because I was considered to be “slow”.  I wasn’t catching on to certain duties in a timely manner. I made mistakes out of ignorance and confusion. My direct supervisors yelled at me, which made me even more slow and confused. Thus, a vicious cycle began.

At one temporary job, my boss began screaming and laughing at me almost from the beginning. I was in tears by the time she called me “Stupid” at the end of my shift.


How Can we Show More Compassion?


The answer is simple: treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. In other words, follow the universal Golden Rule. For example, I have substitute taught various students with physical and mental challenges. At such times, I have been counseled (by teachers) to do the following: 

  • React to the students in a certain way. 
  • Keep my voice modulated just so. 
  • Monitor the child’s interactions with other pupils.

In the end, the whole situation boils down to showing respect; it’s not confusing.  We can be nurturing by being our true, kindest selves.  

The deepest form of kindness, or respect, is to handle everyone as an equal—no more, no less. The assumption of equality is the greatest show of empathy. After all, how can we truly identify with a person if we think they’re “inferior”? Many examples in history prove that we cannot.

The George Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion (which was made into the classic musical, My Fair Lady) provides a great illustration of treating all people with deference. The main character, Eliza Doolittle, sells flowers in London. However, on a dare, the emotionally distant Professor Henry Higgins takes on the job of tutoring her.

He doesn’t treat Eliza well, or relate to her way of thinking. In contrast, his friend, Colonel Pickering, is kind, gentle, and respectful. The following is a direct quote from Eliza (to Colonel Pickering) in Act 5:



I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will, but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.


Do you treat “flower girls” as “duchesses”?