You know who you are. You’re the kids who bullied that poor bus driver until she cried. You’re the ones who tortured and killed Matthew Shepard because he was gay. You’re the cliques in high school who band together to make fun of the girls who aren’t as pretty as you are. You’re the society women committed to ruining the lives of those who refuse to follow your stupid, fear-driven rules. You’re the guys at work who steal other people’s ideas and fail to give credit where credit is due.
You’re the assholes who stiff hard-working waitresses after you’ve made their lives miserable during your whole meal because you’re delusional enough to think you’re better than they are. You’re the doctors who abuse your power and treat your medical students like they’re gum on your shoe. You’re the unscrupulous people like Bernie Madoff, who run off with other people’s hard-earned money because of your own greed. You’re Osama bin Laden and everyone else in Al Qaeda.
You’re the parents who abuse your kids. You’re the men who rape women. You’re the crooks and murderers and corporate thieves in white collars.
You know who you are, and I have a few things I want to say to you.
You Did Something Mean, But You’re Still Valuable
I know it’s a slippery slope, and when you’ve done your first mean thing, it’s easier and easier to keep being mean because you feel like a total loser as a result of what you’ve done. Because you have trouble forgiving yourself, you just keep hurting others. Because you’re mean to others, you’re also mean to yourself.
I know you know that what you’re doing is out of alignment with the integrity of your highest self, that part of you that is a little slice of divinity, that Inner Pilot Light that never flickers out, even though it grows dim in the darkness of your mean self.
I know part of you wants to stop being mean, because we all have compassion and kindness within us. We sometimes just lose our way, and when we get so lost, it’s hard to find our way back home. But I want you to know that home is always within you, forgiveness is always possible, and it’s never too late to stop being mean and start being kind.
Even though you did something mean, I want you to know that you’re still valuable, that you’re worthy of love, and tenderness and compassion. No matter how horrible your deed, you don’t have to flog yourself for the rest of your life. You only have to do what you can to right your wrongs, ask for forgiveness from those you’ve hurt, and most of all, forgive yourself.
Don’t Keep Pushing “Repeat”
You are a precious child of The Uni-verse, with Its spark of divinity within you dying to brighten its radiance. The world needs more light and love, and you can be part of the illumination of the world, if only you make the conscious choice to stop being mean and start spreading love in the world.
I know you screwed up. I’m not judging you for it. I’m forgiving you for it, because everyone deserves grace and a second chance. But can you receive it? Can you let anyone love you? Or are you so locked down because of what you’ve done that you can’t let light in?
Please, don’t keep pushing “Repeat.” Just because you were once mean doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. Trust me. Kindness feels so much better. I know the transition will be hard. Other mean people will try to keep you down. Some aren’t so willing to forgive. Grudges are held. Those you’ve tormented may want revenge. You may even wind up in jail. But even in prison, kindness can blossom and you can heal.
Forgive Those Who Were Mean To You
I don’t blame you for being so mean. I know others were probably mean to you. You may have had meanness modeled for you most of your life. You probably don’t feel as loved as you should. And everyone is deserving of love and affection, especially you.
You may hold grudges of your own, and in carrying your anger and resentment around like badges, you perpetuate the wounding done to you. You hurt others as you were hurt. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There is another way. You can forgive those who hurt you and stop inflicting more wounds on an already wounded world. It’s up to you. All you have to do is let the light shine through you. It’s there. I promise, and it’s yours to shine forth.
One Act of Kindness
If you’re ready to stop being mean, start by practicing one simple act of kindness. Choose one thing you can do today. Pay someone’s toll. Buy someone’s lunch. Give flowers to a stranger. Write a letter of forgiveness. Volunteer for a charity. Do something kind.
The next day, do one more kind thing. And then another. Pair that with doing one less mean thing. Cut back. Then forgive yourself again. Treat yourself like the gifted child you are in your heart. Forgive the hurting child in you, and you will free yourself, one baby step at a time.
Until then, know that you are lovable, valuable and worthy. You are precious, special and deserving. Joy can be yours. You can belong. Anything is possible.
I believe in you,
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Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.