Don’t mind your #!*@ business!

Joey Garcia

What do you do when you hear a mom screaming or yanking her 2-year-old child in a store? I don’t know what to do. The one time I said something, the mom told me to mind my #!*@ business or I would be next.

Never allow anyone to threaten you. If a stranger, family member or friend attempts to bully or intimidate you, take action. This is a non-negotiable requirement for the creation and maintenance of a healthy self and a healthy community. When a child’s mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health is at risk, as it is when that child is being shamed or abused in other ways, never turn away. If you do, you erode your integrity and contribute to harming the community’s well-being.

If you witness abuse in a store, contact the store manager or store security immediately. In certain situations, it might be most appropriate to contact law enforcement or Child Protective Services. If you observe behavior by a parent toward a child that is not abuse but is not in the child’s best interest, employ compassion. Many parents are uneducated about child development, and that skews their expectations. These parents think that a 2-year-old is capable of behaviors, like impulse control, that are not a part of that age group’s skill set. Of course, some parents also lack impulse control. These adults overreact, and their anger escalates dramatically. In those cases, I usually say something like, “Looks like you have your hands full. Can I help in any way?” or “Parenting is really an act of selfless love, isn’t it?” Then I will notice something sweet about the child and share that thought with the parent or the child. Remembering what they love about their little one can calm a ruffled parent.

I have learned that saying the right thing in a difficult situation demands that I have swept away as much judgment, expectation or bias as I can beforehand. This makes it easier to avoid shaming, ridiculing or condemning the person whose behavior is in question. Often I will pray for the right words. All of this inspires my kindness and understanding, which can de-escalate the stressed-out parent. Our culture is dishonest about the amount of stress that accompanies child rearing. The reality is that we are all responsible to help every child mature into adulthood. (Yes, it really does take a village.)

I just broke up with my fiancée after finding out that she was running around with one of my friends. I lost her and him, too, and can’t believe that they would do this to me. It also seems like other people knew about it and deliberately chose not to tell me. I feel like leaving and not telling anyone and never coming back. I really need your help.

Your impulse to run is not just emotional. Trauma activates the fight-or-flight area of the brain. And, after being abandoned by your fiancée and friend, your heart yearns to abandon them and the city where the pain began. But leaving does not guarantee that your suffering will disappear. You will carry that wounded heart with you wherever you land on this beautiful planet. So, instead of running, let yourself feel the mountain of emotions attached to this situation. Grieve the betrayal and loss. Yes, that means expressing yourself in productive ways like crying or writing in a journal. You must also process your feelings by talking to a trusted friend or a talented psychotherapist. Don’t contact your former fiancée or your former friend, though. Focus your energy on transforming into the next evolution of the man you know yourself to be. Let this trauma be the launchpad for a triumph of startling proportions.

Meditation of the week

“If you’re afraid of personal attacks, you’re never going to make a difference,” said the attorney Gloria Allred. Do you have compassion for the people who project their unwanted feelings and thoughts on to you?

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