October 30, 2019-
A few days ago, I received a rather terse e-mail from a sometime mentor, to the effect that, if I was not going to support her business activities, then it was “Goodbye”. Throughout my life, I have rarely written anyone off, and even then, not permanently. I don’t get the sense that this woman is permanently off my radar screen. That is simply not how business works.
Jordan Peterson’s third rule for living is “Surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart.” In childhood, and to some extent in adolescence, I had little choice but to learn to deal with both those who were well-wishers and those who I viewed as challengers, rather than as ill-wishers. This stemmed from my conviction, even as a child, that we are all just feeling our way in life. I observed how kids who came across as mean were treated by their own parents. That made dealing with bullies a lot easier, and made reconciliation, later in life, a fait accompli.
Those whose view of me, and of themselves, is pointed upward are plentiful in number, at this stage of my life. Of course, we must hold each other accountable, as well as being one another’s advocates and cheering sections. An enabler is not much more than a sugar-coated toxin.
Those whose view of life is pointed downward are, thankfully, rare in my life and it is indeed my job to keep it that way. The most potentially problematic, yet easiest to control, is the friendships on social media. I am judicious about blocking and deleting anyone, with only those who have been hurtful in a big way, or over time, getting the boot. Accepting online friendships is more of a judgment call, with any hint that a person is not being transparent about their identity, and/or reasons for being on my network, being a red flag. Beggars, trolls and boastful people have generally not found welcome on these sites.
That said, those who genuinely need, and appreciate, help will always find a place here. Peterson’s rule does not eschew kindliness and fellowship, nor does my code of living.