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An Open Letter To Mean People Everywhere

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An Open Letter To Mean People Everywhere

You know who you are. Youíre the kids who†bullied that poor bus driver until she cried. Youíre the ones who tortured and killed Matthew Shepard because he was gay. Youíre the cliques in high school who band together to make fun of the girls who arenít as pretty as you are. Youíre the society women committed to ruining the lives of those who refuse to follow your stupid, fear-driven rules. Youíre the guys at work who steal other peopleís ideas and fail to give credit where credit is due.

Youíre the assholes who stiff hard-working waitresses after youíve made their lives miserable during your whole meal because youíre delusional enough to think youíre better than they are. Youíre the doctors who abuse your power and treat your medical students like theyíre gum on your shoe. Youíre the unscrupulous people like Bernie Madoff, who run off with other peopleís hard-earned money because of your own greed.† Youíre Osama bin Laden and everyone else in Al Qaeda.

Youíre the parents who abuse your kids. Youíre the men who rape women. Youíre 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 Youíre Still Valuable

I know itís a slippery slope, and when youíve done your first mean thing, itís easier and easier to keep being mean because you feel like a total loser as a result of what youíve done. Because you have trouble forgiving yourself, you just keep hurting others. Because youíre mean to others, youíre also mean to yourself.

I know you know that what youíre 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, itís hard to find our way back home. But I want you to know that home is always within you, forgiveness is always possible, and itís never too late to stop being mean and start being kind.

Even though you did something mean, I want you to know that youíre still valuable, that youíre worthy of love and tenderness and compassion. No matter how horrible your deed, you donít 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 youíve hurt, and most of all, forgive yourself.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at† and also created two online communities -† and† She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Colleen P. - you run into some intriguing people. Wow, people who think that they were characters in a TV show but in their past lives. Which TV shows? Old or new? Yes, I have to admit those who love their dogs more than people are challenging, especially those who say all humans are horrible and they cannot stand people because they think all people are mean, nasty and not a one can show gentleness and kindness. Sort of sad that they have evolved this way. While I love the cat that owns me but certainly I find many people out there that are kind, delightful and easy to be with.

Of course there are the sociopaths that most of us really don't want to know, think I hide when I see them coming! (Although sadly they have a talent for fooling many of us at first leaving a swath of damage and hurt in their wake but by then it is too late).

But it would be kind of fascinating to meet someone who was a TV character in their "past life". Good ice breaker and conversation starter and they likely are not mean. Of course it depends on what character they were...if a Borg be careful you are not assimilated!

8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

There are some mean people who have the ability to feel shame for what they do, some do have a conscious and can learn from that. Those who do not are sociopaths and are extremely dangerous because they have no empathy for the people they hurt, abuse, murder, rape and commit other crimes against and they will never learn mercy or the ability to do good or help others.

I have met several sociopaths in my lifetime and have been the victim of their crimes.
Sadly, there is little one can do with people who have no empathy. But there are some people who can learn from their misdeeds and that is a relief especially if they learn to help others and help make up for the hurts they caused.

1:15PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

sad yet true to say,mean children grow up to be mean adults.These adults end up being just plain ugly mean

10:34AM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

I think some people are born evil in my humble opinion, you can't tell me that someone who abuses kids has a 'light' inside of them.

6:58AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Thanks for a great read!

9:46PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012


8:59PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

wonderful read! thanks, lissa! :-)

I think being mean is a choice, just like choosing to be happy. there is a light at the end of the tunnel for mean people...

8:58PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

wonderful read! thanks, lissa! :-)

I think being mean is a choice, just like choosing to be happy. there is a light at the end of the tunnel for mean people...

7:24PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Bullying and being mean are one and the same as far as I am concerned. I have been in both situations and neither does anything to help a person except to make them feel less worthy of anything. Don't do it. Smile and say hi. If you have noting nice to say, don't say anything. Both you and the victim will come out ahead and you won't have a lousy reputation.

7:21PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Brilliant! Thanks, Lissa :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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