Angela at mommybytes asked about being wronged and reparation.
I've written several times on this topic. There was the post about:
* the time I followed a good example and stood up to a bad teacher
* the time I finally said enough and left a horrible job rife with sexual harassment and hostile work environment
* the chapped hide olympics in which I complained about bad customer service and the resolution from the companies that post brought
* how I do, and don't speak up at times when I am feeling wronged
* the downside and upside of being perceived as assertive
* the time I testified to the EPA about the personal effects of a toxic environment
It's not always just about me, either. I'll speak up for wronged friends and object to injustice (too many links to insert, LOL).
Angela, in all my experience of frequently speaking up, I've learned that you can speak as much as you want, but by the time people act, they have already created a mental rationalization for why what they did was okay. People generally operate within their own norms of fine. People who grab sports t-shirts away from kids, cars that cut other cars off in traffic lines, businesses that don't back up their products, employers who don't offer proper health care for their employees, yard services that dump grass clippings down storm drains, and so forth are all acting after having thought and decided, and are all functioning according to a set of their own principles---which are different from yours, and mine, and the ones generally associated with courtesy. It's probably a pattern. They---we---always have excellent rationalizations for this type of behavior, and it usually begins and ends with the "every man for himself" argument, which I admit is often compelling.
I don't think you can change people; I do think you can plant a seed, though, or create a new boundary (with you at least). You can use situations as teaching and learning examples for your kids. You can use the event as a chance to consider differences, and to evaluate our position on issues.
Speaking up doesn't always mean engaging in direct conflict (even diplomatically). Sometimes it means, simply, teaching and learning within a moment.
So for those who often sit quietly within a moment...fixing a wrong doesn't always mean confronting the wrongdoer. Sometimes, the best solution is to create the change you want in your own life.
How do you think wrongs ought to be handled?
Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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