October 2017
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bad actions =/= bad person. absence of effort to reduce harm one causes/benefits from = bad person


icon: "healing (a photo of me and Hannah curled up together, naked, with Hannah's head resting on my legs and my arms around/over them. it's colored in violet with a fractal overlay of purple, blue, and green.)"

I've said much of this before, but I am going to try to make it more specific and plain-spoken.

If I judge your actions as bad, that does not mean I am judging you as bad. Almost every action I rail against as harmful in some way is a thing I have done in the past. I have believed wrongly and damaged people with my actions. I have been classist, racist, sexist, fatphobic, ableist, looksist, anti-sexworker, queerphobic, and gender essentialist, and acted on those ideologies in my actions toward others. I have believed in rape myths and imperialist dogma. I have manipulated and disrespected my partners.

[specific examples of my wrongs: CN/TW for violence, oppressive attitudes, and slurs]
---specific examples of my wrongs: CN/TW for violence, oppressive attitudes, and slurs---

I judged poor people if they bought a small luxury. I avoided people of color because I thought they were too different and I could not relate. I thought women should submit to their husbands. I thought fatness was ugly and that fat people should hide their bodies. I expected all people to be able to learn and perform in the way that I do. I thought cleverness and education made a person more worthwhile. I ranked people on a scale of attractive to not attractive. I assumed that people could not choose to sell sex and that if they did they were forced or acting out of damage. I compared queer sex to sticking your hand in a blender: 'misuse' of intended purpose. I assumed everyone's gender matched what they were assigned at birth, and I assumed that there were only two sexes. I used slurs, especially ableist ones like 'stupid' and 'crazy.'

I have violated people's consent (thankfully not in ways that caused lots of damage, but I was lucky). I have been invalidating of people's identities. I have considered myself to have the 'one true' god and dismissed others as false. I have made relationship expectations without discussion or agreement, and manipulated people into the performance I wanted. I have assumed the worst motives of people I loved and not bothered to check. I have screamed at partners. I have called names. I have hit children (I was a child also at the time, but it was damaging and terrible).

---end TW/CN---


All those things are things I consider deeply wrong and I am profoundly ashamed of them. I mention them because I do not think of myself as a bad person, yet I have done all these bad things. There is not a thing that I say "don't do this" that I haven't done to some extent. So, I cannot think of other people as bad because they do them.

For me, there is only one sin that makes you a bad person: not making any effort to reduce the harm you cause to others and the harms that you benefit from. You don't have to make the efforts I suggest; you just have to make SOME effort, repeatedly, to reduce the harm you cause and/or benefit from in order to not be a bad person. You have to consider carefully if your behavior needs changing when someone says that you are causing harm.

When it comes to creating justice, intention means nothing; your harm-reduction needs to be effective in order to matter at all. When it comes to a judgement of moral character, intention + effort is everything. If you keep on trying to get better, and you keep on trying to learn from a variety of sources, I believe you will eventually get to a place where your efforts are effective and you do reduce harm. So I don't care where you are now; I care if you are repeatedly learning and trying. The more you try, the better a person I think you are.

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Comments
slinkslowdown ══╣[[Other]] Exhausted╠══
CN: Harassment, suicide baiting
I wish more people were like you...

I've had dozens of people follow/harass me across countless websites and repeatedly spam messages telling me to kill myself. All because of something I did while in a severe bipolar episode [and I was unmedicated, at that] almost seven years ago.

I've apologized to the actual harmed parties numerous times, I know I fucked up horribly, I've never done it again and have taken steps to ensure I don't do it again.

But these cruel people don't fucking care.
belenen ══╣healing╠══
Re: CN: Harassment, suicide baiting
that's horrifying -- I am so sorry you've had to deal with that. </3
wanderipity ══╣╠══
THIS!!!! I love your posts. I'm sorry I can't ever provide an insightful feedback.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
nnta! (no need to apologize!) I am glad you appreciate my posts *smiles*
rosegardenfae ══╣╠══

Just as I had suspected,  I'm not a bad person.  you remind me of my grandson who is totally awesome. Why don't all the people like you get together and change things?

belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Well, that's what I'm working on! But we need all good people to be working to change things.
zimtkeks ══╣╠══
Well said! I really don't like it when people aren't willing to improve.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
*nods* I dislike it generally, but I really can't stand it when it is an issue of causing harm to others, or allowing harm to happen in a way that benefits oneself. In that case, I don't feel like it is ethical to not be trying to improve.
zimtkeks ══╣╠══
I agree.

Three years ago a colleague said that character development was finished at the age of 30. That made my motivation to talk to him disappear almost completely.
belenen ══╣amused╠══
haha! what a ridiculous idea!
libraspirit2101 ══╣╠══
OT: Thank you for your and the others' input on my FB rant yesterday. It feels good to know that I have people with whom I can relate on important matters *hugs*

Btw, I'd still eventually like to meet you, but only when you're able to do so.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
welks!

Keepin that in mind!
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I completely agree! I find I'm fairly forgiving, as long as the person involved genuinely apologises and makes a sincere effort to reduce harmful behaviour. It's lack of remorse and lack of effort that I find unforgivable.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
*nodnod* yes! lack of effort gets to me so strongly.
ragnarok_08 ══╣Original ★ never again╠══
I agree so much!

I'm so sorry that you had to deal with that :(
belenen ══╣artless╠══
thank you
fairytaleguise ══╣╠══
Thank you for this interesting post. I know for me, I am generally very forgiving and patient so long as I know a person is committed to change and I try to extend that same patience and compassion to myself.
belenen ══╣effervescent╠══
*nods* yes! I am a surprisingly patient person, really. (surprising because I am so eager and forceful, also)
fairytaleguise ══╣╠══
Yes, I (Tristan, for the record!) tend to be both very patient and very forceful, depending on the situation / topic / person, so I think I understand a bit what you mean.
re_vised ══╣╠══
I love this post! You succinctly said what I feel on a day-to-day level. While I might not always succeed, I am trying to be the best me I can be and actively work to change the things about myself I dislike or need to work on. Currently, my hinging on depression isn't helping some of the things I need to work on...but I suppose working through depression is enough on its own! Oy.

For a long time, I have enjoyed diving into self-reflection discussions with other people. Having a trustworthy friend give me insights on my behavior is so insightful and I appreciate their ability to be frank (I do enjoy bluntness, as long as it isn't mean spirited) and honest with me.
belenen ══╣pensive╠══
*nods* working through depression is indeed enough on its own! Gotta be safe within yourself before you can effectively help others much.

I also value people giving me perspective on myself, so much! there is much I'd never realize without help.
wolfteaparty ══╣╠══
Thank you for this post. I've said and done things I'm pretty ashamed of, too. But all I can do is try to do better next time.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
*nods* that is all anyone can do!
theidolhands ══╣SF - Victorians╠══
Reminds me of lessons I learned as a wee kid in religious classes, including simple expressions like, "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "there but for the grace of God go I". Oh, and, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Meaning can be found anywhere! it's all about how one applies it.
theidolhands ══╣SF - Victorians╠══
Fortunately, such pieces of work are designed specifically for the task and I'm grateful for the head start it gave me. Too many people are quick to remove meaning, especially in states of fear, self-loathing, and egoism.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.