We live in a world where we are constantly being bombarded with various forms of media: tv, internet, social media, magazines, etc. All of these myriad forms are telling us how to be, what to do, how to think. But there is also another form that isn’t so obvious, and can be more insidious than the others because it’s not something that we normally even think about.
During our daily lives we usually cross the paths of many different people. Some of these people we see every day (family members, co-workers), some of them are people we may only see just one time for a few short minutes. Regardless of the situation, we are affected by each encounter, and our life changes from that moment on.
For those people who we only meet for a momentary encounter, unless something highly significant or shocking occurs, once the moment is gone, it is easy to move past and get on with our lives. For those we see regularly, it is often not so easy to get beyond if negative encounters happen nearly everytime we meet that person.
For this example, I am going to use a co-worker of mine. This person started the job shortly after I did, and he was the last person hired. But by the way he treats his co-workers (including the ones who have been here for over a decade, rather than less than a year) you would think he was the boss. From the beginning, he has continuously shown himself to be hostile, confrontational, and on numerous occasions he has made highly inappropriate jokes (sometimes involving subjects like jail or underage children). He has disrespectful comments about his coworkers, and lied about everyone. None of this even touches on his job performance which is sketchy at best, and more often than not, fraudulent as well. Anytime anyone makes a comment or files a complaint, he denies the situation (even with proof) and finds a way to retaliate against the coworker.
Being around anyone who is so toxic is obviously hazardous to our mental and emotional state. But it’s not just the obvious people like my coworker who create toxicity. And it doesn’t just have to be an all the time issue either. The fact is, we all have the capacity of being just as bad, and much of the time it’s much more subtle. It’s a product of the society we live in.
A Warrior learns to do things differently. It’s not that we didn’t grow up without the same societal influences. It’s more that we learn to recognize how our actions affect others, and we take responsibility for it. We become aware that a difference in one word, or one gesture can make the difference between a helpful encounter, and a harmful one, both to themselves and to any other person involved. A Warrior does not allow himself to be a victim, but neither does he allow himself to knowingly hurt others to better himself.
The kind of awareness that a Warrior carries takes many years to cultivate. It also takes willingness. The difference between someone like my coworker and a Warrior is that willingness. Once the willingness is in place, then it takes action. Once the action begins, then it becomes time and practice. But with time and practice, and being aware that we can consciously have a good effect on those we meet. By bringing such awareness, we can bring about change a better world.