Today I had a nerve-wracking experience at my work. Another teacher called me over to a nearby classroom and because of the language barrier, I was given no explanation as to why, but all of a sudden when I enter the room I see a table full of teachers, none of which were native English speakers such as myself. The sight startled me a bit because I got this anxiety experience of like “uh oh, am I in trouble?” But then, it was not long until the other English teachers came and I realized we were simply having a staff teacher meeting with all staff, English and non English.
The reason I had this experience is because I have spent too much time judging some of the other non-English teachers. At the school that I work at, it is tradition for the teachers to use physical violence with the students, and for me this is something that I react to, to the point where I have wanted to confront some of the teachers. I judged the teachers too much for being bad, even with some kind of vague awareness that I shouldn’t judge and should be more understanding because they have a back-story too, I still judged, and this was one consequence of it: harboring all of these negative judgments and feelings towards the other teachers, and then having reactions to them in some situations, which ultimately hinder my ability to communicate and interact with them effectively.
There was a lot of breathing throughout the meeting to calm myself and make sure that I was clear throughout the meeting, especially if I had to speak at any point. When an opportunity came to finally bring up the point of violence with the children, I was satisfied that I was able to raise this point with diplomacy and request that no violence be used with my students in my classes. I was glad to have been able to speak my voice on the point and have my voice be heard and accepted, but the point to really look at is whether my satisfaction was for me ‘getting my way’ as some kind of moral victory for the game of judgments I’ve been playing with myself in my head, or if it was for the children. Certainly, some of my satisfaction with this was purely for my own self interest, because of how I had this energetic ‘feel good’ experience afterwards, like I had really had some kind of victory, and of course it is so easy to justify that feeling and the ego game behind it because after all, it is good for the children too – the same way that it was easy for me to justify and validate my judgments towards the teachers because it was in the children’s best interests to recognize the violence as unacceptable and stop it.
The fact is that I had been reacting and reactions are points that always require to be dealt with if I am to be truly effective and clear in my application of making a difference for the better. While I’m fortunate that my reactions are not nearly as intense and consuming as they used to be (you should have seen me at the first school that I ever worked at…), they are still existing and they have everything to do with me and me only.
Human beings tend to operate under the principle of ‘might is right’ and when we do not have the understanding or skill to direct ourselves/others/ a situation that we are facing, we will tend to use the application of force and aggression. I was certainly brought up this way and it is noticeable in small moments of my life where I get irritated and become aggressive or forceful. Just because they are not extremely obvious does not mean they do not exist and do not require to be dealt with (we always tend to kid ourselves by saying that ‘we’re not that bad, it could always be worse’).
Furthermore, this world and the people within it are far from perfect and so it is too easy to justify reactions of annoyance and irritation, and the desire to react and become aggressive or use force in response. But blame is useless and to respond to someone’s fuck up by also having a fuck up and reacting to them energetically is just fighting fire with fire – the whole fire just gets bigger.
Yes it may be true that I am seeing abuse, yes it may be true that the abuse that I directly I inflict may be of a far lesser degree (not even sure about that one) and yes it could be true that some abuse without a hope of ever repenting for their ways in this lifetime, and yet it could have been me who had the same life experiences as others which had me so misguided that I could also be beyond hope of changing for the better. The fact is that we tend to not ‘know any better’ and I am privileged to have had some amazing teachers and teaching experiences in my life. I truly believe that if we humans knew any better, if we had any idea what the fuck it is that we are actually doing and the harm that we are causing to ourselves and others, we would in fact change. Thus here is a point within which the principle of ‘pity them for they know not what they do’ can be applied – not as any kind of judgment or inferiority/superiority point, but as a simple recognition that humans are only as good as what they know, and some truly have not had the chance to know any better.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to judge the mistakes of others and to define others based on the mistakes they make, create negative value judgments/definitions of others based on their actions as I see, realize and understand that this is limiting me from seeing the being and the life story behind the actions and therefore not allowing myself to see the being as my equal and thus how I am able to direct myself/them/the situation that I am facing effectively
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to deceive myself into allowing such judgments by using moral values such as for instance ‘hitting children is wrong’ as I see, realize and understand that what I am justifying and validating is my feeling experience and reaction towards that being and not actually enabling myself practically to see the situation/other directly and thus hindering my ability to direct effectively
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to judge those who make mistakes as inferior to myself as I see, realize and understand that I also make mistakes – specifically I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to allow judgments of those who make the mistake of reacting with force and aggression because they may not have sufficient skill/understanding to direct the situation because I myself also have a tendency to react due to a lack of understanding/skill and go into behaviors of aggression/violence and thus all reactions towards others are required to be breathed through and stopped and not acted on in any way whatsoever, no matter how brutal or grotesque the act may be
I commit myself to not judge others for reacting with aggression and force as I see, realize and understand that my tendency to judge others for this is a way at focusing on the mistakes others make so that I do not see how the same point exist within/as me and thus limits my ability to change myself and direct this problem/tendency as it exist within myself
I commit myself to breathe through and investigate my reactions towards the mistakes of others so that I may bring the point back to myself and see/understand where I am doing the same thing in my own life so that I may stop the pattern and change
I commit myself to see, realize and understand that there is a story behind the mistakes and abuse that I witness and that that story is no different to my own as that person could have been me, and is me in fact albeit the difference may be perhaps only a matter of degree/expression, so that I may stop judging others as lesser/inferior to me and stand equal to them so that I am clear as I direct myself and others as myself in doing what is best for all