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.