Do you have any regret in your life?
I like to interpret regrets as lessons learned, but if I really had to tell you my one regret, it would be: I did not stand up for myself when I was bullied, discriminated against, and treated poorly when I was a child all the way up to my early 20s.
A lot of people misunderstood my kindness, gentleness, or quietness as foolishness.
Soft and kind hearted people are not fools. They know what people did to them, but they forgive again and again because they have beautiful hearts. (Author Unknown)
When I was younger, I seriously thought that forgiveness meant “turning the other cheek.” I thought forgiveness was just being silent. I thought forgiveness was waiting for justice to happen someday, sometime, somehow!
I was wrong.
Forgiveness is not remaining passive and allowing other people to harm us continuously! Forgiveness requires teaching other people to stop their poor behaviour, which would not only help them but also us. This requires our courage to stand up for ourselves and speak up for ourselves, in a legal, peaceful, rational way.
In the past few years, I encountered a few incidents where friends told me that I could actually file a legal complaint, against the inappropriate behaviour that I received. I did not file any legal complaint, not because I was timid or scared, but because I already took action and stood up for myself in an assertive and legal way.
I have also stood up for others when they were being bullied or discriminated against, and I have seen that if only one person is willing to stand up, to speak the truth, to protect the victim, or to do something constructive, the bullying can stop, and the harm can be diminished substantially.
Until the great mass of people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained. (Helen Keller)
I am committed to keep pursuing justice for myself and for any other person. If standing up for myself, or standing up for others, requires me to be involved with lawyers, police officers, or other advocates, I would go the extra mile to do what is needed, with the wish to see justice happening.
In an ideal world, restorative justice is what we would all want to see and experience. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world, and so we cannot always see justice. This is to be expected. But this should not deter us from pursuing justice.
The intention of pursuing justice is not to win! The intention of pursuing justice is also not necessarily to receive an apology or to receive monetary compensation!
The intention of pursuing justice is really to help ourselves and others: being assertive and setting healthy boundaries not only helps us live a healthy life, but it could also help others change for the better and hopefully live a healthy life too. The intention of pursuing justice is to present and validate the truth! If the legal system cannot bring justice, at least there are other people who will know and believe in the truth.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. (Desmond Tutu)
If any of my poor experiences were to ever happen to a client of mine, or to a loved one, I would strongly support and encourage them to stand up for themselves. In fact, I would encourage them, if necessary, to present their issues in a very formal way, as a case to be assessed by a human resources professional, or by some other type of advocate.
I would wish to keep following my own advice.
Equality is very well-served by assuring a policy where all workers, all clients, all students, all members of a group, and all people, are treated with respect and fairness, and where they would never have to deal with discrimination, harassment, bullying, or any form of rude behaviour.
I will keep trying my best to “walk my talk.”
I will also keep trying to empower myself and others, because that’s one of the ways to pursue justice.
Thank you, to the courageous souls who have supported me on my journey, and who have helped me validate the truth.
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. (Elie Wiesel)
Sometimes, when we are trying to seek justice, there will be others who discourage us or try to persuade us that it is futile. But the quest for justice is a healthy process unto itself, even if sometimes the desired resolution is unlikely to be achieved.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
You must do the thing you think you cannot do. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
It always seems impossible until it’s done. (Nelson Mandela)
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. (Steve Jobs)
Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid. (Dorothea Brande)
Don’t fear failure… in great attempts it is glorious even to fail. (Bruce Lee)
Affirmation: I enrich my life when I pursue justice in a legal, peaceful, rational way, for myself and for other fellow human beings.