People will hate you mostly for one of two reasons.
They feel you don’t see or hear them.
They wish they had your courage.
Whether they are the bully in school or the troll on the Internet. Whether they are the cold, aloof relative, or the staring stranger. Whether they are the best friend who turned on you, or the tribe who rejected you. They hate you because it matters to them that you notice them.
They hate you because you are different, and even though you may know this and wish you were not, and perhaps even feel powerless to change it, the fact that you are different can provoke a feeling of intimidation in a person who would never, ever risk being seen to be different, and has taken steps to ensure they are never seen as weak, different, vulnerable or less than.
Because here you are, being willing or simply resigned to be all those things they are most afraid people will find out about them, out in the open.
Your willingness to leave the house despite your imperfections, your overwhelming feeling of not-enoughness and less-than-ness, and your preparedness to keep functioning despite the deep suspicion you have you are never going to fit in, measure up or be accepted is the most threatening, challenging and confronting thing you will ever do where others are concerned.
When faced with these feelings, and everyone has them, most people would rather work to change themselves into someone they are not rather than ever risk being seen for what they suspect they actually are.
They heard, just like you, the voice that says “Just who the hell do you think you are? Who are you to be strong, different, peculiar, remarkable?” And they obeyed that voice, and became something they are not. They made changes. They compromised. And it takes a lot of energy to hide and be something you’re not. And here you come, being honest, vulnerable, who you are, which you think makes you look weak and stupid and dumb and unoriginal, but which actually makes you the most threatening thing in the whole world. You don’t use your energy working to keep up appearances. You don’t spend all your time defending your borders and maintaining your defences. How dare you? How DARE you?
This is why they hate you. Truth sees truth. You are about to namaste them right in the eyeballs and they are terrified. They do not want to see you, and they do not want to be seen. They want you to hide and to let them hide. But when your truth has surfaced and made you know you must walk with your open face to the world at all times, you won’t be able to go back to being the hider. And your light will make the dark scurry away before you, everywhere you go. And there won’t be a thing that you or anyone else can do about that.
Except criticise you. Except mock you, and question your authority (even if you never claimed to have any) and ask you who you think you are. They may subject you to physical or emotional attack. They may work to make sure you’re excluded from the tribe, even if you no longer belong there anyway. They will lie about you, gossip about you and twist your words. But often, they will also copy you, without even knowing. They will mimic your words and actions, because despite themselves, they are learning from you. Especially if you don’t bite back. Especially if you don’t resist or defend. They will copy and mirror your strength and your courage, as if trying it upon for size, testing it out. You see, bullies are not acting from a place of real strength. It’s feigned power. It’s all an act. Once they find what they think might be a better method of looking strong and being safe they’ll try it on to see if it works better than the one they’re using now.
Bullies have no weapons except the ones you bring into the battle. Their whole strategy is to get you to bring the fight, because they know in reality, they have nothing. The only force that will be used is the force they exert against your resistance to them. If you don’t bring a big gun, then in actual fact, they got nothing. This is why you need never fight back when your ideas, your art, your beliefs and your life-management are criticised. You don’t need to defend yourself. You’re not the one under threat. They are.
Bullies have only two motives. To challenge your courage, or to get you to see or hear them. True courage has nothing to prove. It’s this courage that will empower you to stand in the face of criticism, bullying or other forms of intimidation, whilst seeing the underlying fear driving it. Once you understand there’s a tender person behind that bravado trying not to be seen or heard and yet at the same time seen and heard, you realise who truly has the power.
And the wisdom to use it well.
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