“Fuck off,” she said to me, hands on her hips, feet planted solid and strong.
We were in a session and she’d been telling me tale after tale of having her personal space totally infringed upon in ways that were NOT OKAY.
I was letting her practice externalizing the cost of other people’s bad behavior, as opposed to constantly shrinking or contorting to “make nice”.
“My mom told me I should try to be professional. Keep a good reputation,” she shared.
“Okay, and what’s the cost of that?” I asked her.
“EVERYTHING,” she said back. “Safety. Sanity. Dignity. THEY should be the ones worried about being nice and professional, not ME. They’re the ones who harassed ME.”
“Exactly,” I said back. “You are ALLOWED to make them uncomfortable in order to protect yourself, reclaim your space as sacred.”
Listen up: it’s hard enough walking through the world dodging violation bullets. But thinking you’re only a good person if you TAKE THEM? That’s martyrdom. Unjust. Untrue. And helps NO ONE.
I used to hate the idea of consequences.
I remember the first time my dad told me the Gandhi quote, “An eye for an eye and the whole world will go blind.”
YES. THAT. ZING!
It sliced into my soul with pure resonance.
But for a long time, I took it too far.
From a place of truly believing everyone can heal, that everyone deserves a chance at rehabilitation, I over-extended my mercy muscles.
My younger self didn’t quite grok a very important truth:
Consequences help healing happen.
Feeling the impact of our actions is incredibly useful feedback.
…and a key ingredient in justice.
Which brings us back to the Gandhi quote.
It’s not a warning against JUSTICE, it’s a warning against RETALIATION, VENGEANCE, PAYBACK.
This is where “nice humans” get all fucked up.
Justice is not retaliation.
Self-defense is not waging war.
And consequences do not have to have be paired with unforgiving, punishing energy in order to be effective.
You can be compassionate and merciful, and still refuse to internalize the costs of other people’s transgressions.
You can tell someone to fuck off and still be a good fucking person.
Sometimes making someone who’s making you uncomfortable REALLY FEEL IT… is the fastest way to freedom for everyone.
So… shed your conditioning to be good.
Trade it for a devotion to protecting all that’s sacred.
Your flesh. Your heart. The scales of justice that are a direct mirror of our state of health as humans.
Use your voice. Make a choice.
Spit out the poison apple.
Dare THEM to eat it.
And then pray to God for all that’s rotten to turn to compost, grow new and healthy life.
Because after you’ve protected your space, it’s so much more authentic to offer honest, merciful grace.
In solidarity and love,