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Question: I am very sensitive to “railing” on anyone, because I believe as you have said many times “people do the best they can with what they have/know at the time. Here’s where I am struggling with this. For instance: I’m in a conversation with someone who is “railing” another person. Do I provide the wisdom like the statement below to the person who is doing the “railing” or do I let it go. What is the impact to me if I just let it go? Did I do what is morally correct (not sure exactly what that means these days) if I don’t take the opportunity to “teach” the person who feels it is necessary to do the “railing.”
CAVEAT: This post addresses questions about railing (including gossiping) from a point of reference that the person doing the railing or gossiping is throwing their ire to the wind. In other words, the target person is absent from the scene. If the emotionally aggravated or angry person is talking directly to the person considered the villain, then your responsibilities/accountability change dramatically and this blog/write up is not really addressing a face-to-face confrontation.
Your Jar and Railing
Later in this post, Dr. Parker will examine methods we can use to address railing. I will attempt to address what the role of railing/gossiping/judgment play in one’s life and how our jars (subconscious) affect how we react or respond to them.
As you know, our jars contain our book of rules about how we (and everyone else) are supposed to act, believe, respond, what we are supposed to defend, etc. -- everything that we experience or think about. The first reaction an individual has after perceiving or hearing something is based on what rule (belief) they have about it in their jar. All of this reaction, of course, happens instantaneously and unconsciously. As I have stated many times, this is why it is so important to know what is in your book of rules (jar) because when we know what our rules (beliefs) are, we can make “free will” decisions on how to address our challenge(s). The journey of learning what is contained in our jar is a lifelong journey. Keep in mind too that the rules (information/beliefs) in our jar are constantly changing; e.g., new experiences and/or beliefs add new rules, new understandings reclassify old rules; it provides us the ability to see beyond the veil of our rule/belief, thus, allowing us to forgive and release, reclassify, etc. In my opinion, knowing ourselves at the level of what is contained in our jar is the greatest benefit we have in life. It allows us to use free will in our choices. It is an individual’s strongest tool in the evolution of his/her consciousness.
That said, what are we actually doing when we rail/gossip and/or judge someone else? Except in groups that have similar teaching; e.g., religious, family, country; the doing can vary. Say, someone has cheated on their significant other,
Regardless of the reaction, when railing/gossiping/judging is put into play, a monster has been created. The monster, of course, is the energy created by the railing/gossiping/judging flare-up. This energy takes on a life of its own and can wreak havoc on a person or persons, and this energy never dissipates (the Law of Conservation). It is added to the collective consciousness and then may erupt in other conflicts (perhaps half-way around the world or further).
And, as we all know, the Law of Cause and Effect states that what we create comes back to us. How many of our created monsters are actively working in our lives today?
What do you do? Well, first let me emphasize that you have free will. You can choose what you do. Here are some options; and, later in this post, Dr. Parker has given you methods to use.
If you find yourself reacting to and/or judging the gossip/railing, your first question to yourself is, “Why is this bothering me?” Then, go to your jar (your book of rules) and see what is contained in your subconscious that makes you react at this time. Let’s say in the example given above of someone cheating on their significant other…
I ask you to do this because I firmly believe that there is always something in our jar/subconscious that triggers an action/reaction/response to whatever is going on around us. The world mirrors us to us (the Law of Reflection) so that we can see clearly what is in our jars and allows us the ability to examine/learn from/take ownership/forgive ourselves and others/release the hold of a rule/belief and more. So, perhaps, we are hearing this gossip/railing not because we need to insert ourselves into the gossip/railing, but because we can learn something important about ourselves and make free will choices about how we react or respond to it. In the end, we help ourselves and insert this learned information into the collective consciousness which can help the many!
The questioner has asked an excellent question; or rather a number of good questions that interlock with each other. Let me start my answer with a recommendation.
The first thing to do in any situation, including railing, is to think of it as a “problem solving” opportunity. This basically starts with breaking the situation or problem down into the smallest chunks possible – a riddle demonstrates this, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “one bite at a time” or in this case establishing chunk size questions that you can ask. So I started by chunking your question into five straight-forward questions; I know there are only three bullets; but if you read them, a couple actually ask two questions under the same bullet.
· What do I do when I am around someone who is “railing” another person?
· Is passively listening to someone railing another going to backlash on me? Am I morally responsible for intervening in the process and correcting the person on their offensive attack?
· How do I determine if the “railing” attack is morally justified? If it is what do I do?
The second stage of problem solving is to clarify the terminology involved in the situation. So in this situation let us start by changing the term “is it morally” wrong. The change I recommend in any morality conundrum is to use the term “sensitivity” or sensitive. Is the railing attack a matter of being sensitive to the people involved in the railing either actively or passively? Does it affect your own sensitivity? By changing your terminology, you can then intervene in a sensitive manner to the person doing the “railing.” The simplest intervention could be asking the railing attacker, “What do you want from the person you are attacking or from this situation?” You may have to repeat the question in another format depending on the initial feedback you get. For example, the railing attacker says, “I don’t want anything, I just need to vent my feelings and then I’ll let it go.” Or, the feedback you receive may require a great deal of intervention, for example, I am so angry at my boss – he is sexually harassing women employees. The point being, find out where the railing attacker is in the problem situation. NOTE: In serious cases like the one at the worksite, your intervention may include going with the railing individual to the Human Relations Department and initiating action; or it could mean advising them to go to a legal counsel if the their worksite is unwilling to do anything. NOTE: The point is if the railing or gossip is basically factual you are not the presenter; you are there to provide emotional support to the complainer.
As a side bar I am answering your questions about railing (including gossiping) from a point of reference that the person doing the railing or gossiping is throwing their ire to the wind. In other words, the target person is absent from the scene. And, the railing/gossiping is complaining to a third party or parties who are not directly involved. If the emotionally aggravated or angry person is talking directly to the person considered the villain, then your responsibilities/accountability change dramatically and this blog/write up is not really addressing a face-to-face confrontation; but let me briefly state that the power structure of the individuals involved may mean you will (may) want to even the fight arena. Examples of the power structure when it is a face-to-face confrontation are such that: (a) they are equals; or (b) one individual is definitely the superior – like someone confronting their boss or a child-parent fight; or (c) it involves bullying. While a lot of the same dynamics of your possible intervention may remain the same, the face-to-face confrontations generally come down to, “are the parties fighting fair?”
Fighting fair can be applied to any over-stimulated verbal confrontation. The basic rules of fair fighting are:
· Remain focused on the present. For example, if the complainer has been collecting bullets (like those used in a metaphorical gun) for months or even years and starts firing every one of them in the same attack, that is not a fair confrontation. And, when it comes to gossip/railing, it will seldom get the situation fixed.
· The rail is focused and clearly understandable. Also, the issues or metaphorical bullets are relevant to a specific complaint. For example, I want my teenager to come home straight from their part-time job after school and do their homework. And, he doesn’t clean his room, and he puts his feet up on the furniture, and he dresses like a slob; etc. What is important or the focus of the raillery’s needs?
· Referring to the target of the attack by derogatory terms [e.g., my husband is a lazy oaf; my wife is fat; my child is just stupid and can’t be trusted with any responsibilities; my boss is a really Simon Lagree (scoundrel)] is not helpful to a positive resolution. Fighting fair or railing may still be harsh, but it is also specific; e.g., my supposed best friend and my husband are having an affair.
The third stage of problem solving is to change the focus. If you use a pair of high quality, adjustable binoculars, they will have a rangefinder dial. If the situation you want to view is relatively close, you dial the viewfinder to a short range; if the situation is a long way off, you adjust the viewfinder to pick up on the distant items or people. This allows you to see the details a lot clearer. There is something else you can do with binoculars, you can reverse them and look out of the opposite end – obviously, this reverse action will make the view smaller and seem more distant. Sometimes by making a situation appear smaller, we can easily choose to ignore it or select another option; for example, to just observe it or to ask (seek) clarification (active intervention). What does this mean to you and your responsibilities?
As you read through this write-up, do you have a sense that dealing with railing/gossiping is going to be so overwhelming that you should just turn tail and run? There is something you can do as soon as you are around a railing/gossiping situation; that is, stop and take several slow gentle breaths. If you think of it as running into a burning home or any other life-and-death situation, your body and emotions will hijack your common-sense and create a stress reaction (fight or flight). Then you become part of the problem and not part of the solution – so stop and breathe gently, calmly and deeply. If you are able to stay calm in the situation (railing/gossiping), you will often bring the other person to a quieter place in their own emotions. So what are some of your options?
Just walk away. Be honest with the railing attacker if you find the rant unjustified based on your personal standard; walk away from the attacker. You may even let them know that you do not participate in secretive railing (lynching). You can repeat the question to the railing attacker, “What do you want from the #!#*; oops my bad. But it brings up the point that when someone is on a railing attack, they may use crude language (or as the television calls it, adult language); and if you have decided on an active intervention, you need to start from the attacker’s point of view (e.g., use their language even if you don’t typically talk that way).
If you follow an active problem solving approach, you will resolve your own morality trap; that is, you will not be burdened with accountability.
As I close out, let me point out a few caveats:
(1) You have free-will – that is, the ability to choose your response(s) and behavior.
(2) The railing attacker has free-will and can choose to continue attacking the person or persons involved in the situation or to work on a better outcome.
(3) You are human and will make mistakes. So you stay and listen to the railing attack because the attacker is your friend and you feel that a good friend listens to their friend’s problems (evenwhen it involves “railing” or “gossiping”). Since you are human and will make mistakes – learn to forgive your mistakes and to “bless” and forgive the individual’s raillery.
And, my favorite recommendation is to write in a personal journal about your experiences – successful or dreadful – and evaluate the outcome. What did you learn?
Let me add an exercise I sometimes use in my journal. When I’ve had a difficult experience I will take the time to write in my journal for four (4) consecutive days. Each time I try to write as if it were the first write-up which means I don’t re-read the prior day’s journal entry. Then, on the fifth day I read all four entries and again ask, “what did I learn and how would I handle the situation differently now?”
The term railing comes from decades ago in which an undesirable individual was being punished by a crowd of righteous individuals. The undesirable would be “tarred and feathered” and rode out of town on a rail. Railing somebody was not as detrimental to a person’s health as the option involving a lynch mob that hanged the individual. People were still being tarred-and-feathered and rode out of town on a rail during Edgar Cayce’s time. Rail originally meant a railroad rail – the undesirable, often crooked gamblers were beaten severely based on the other player’s anger/verbal complaints and put on a train and told to stay out of their town. (Back to the top!)
last edited on February 27th, 2012 at 10:46 AM