Holding Down or Helping Up?

“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”  Booker T. Washington

These simple words of wisdom reveal a lot about us and about how we relate with others.  Think about it for a moment: you’ve got words like competitor, winner, loser and revenge just to name a few.  These are words most of us use in our daily language and in conversations with people in our lives.  But what we don’t always acknowledge is that, as Booker. T. says, if we work on cutting someone else down they could easily catch us on the way down and pull us down too.  Think about the scandals around Gov. Christie of New Jersey right now: whether or not he was knowledgeable about what was going on, he’s been caught in the backlash of all of this.  If you live long enough in the world there’s a good chance you’ll get caught once or twice, and sometimes it won’t even be your fault.

The best way to deal with this?  Of course the best way is to always do the best you can to help everyone win.  But that’s not always how things go, and you don’t have ultimate control in every situation. Best practices encourage offering a helping hand up, not helping the crowd hold someone down.

But that’s not how we’ve seen society play out, is it?  We’ve seen the crowd gang up on the little guy, or ignore those pushed down.  Why are we willing to walk by those down instead of trying to give them a helping hand?  Yes, there can be some fear involved, especially if it’s a life and death situation like Rwanda, the Sudan or the Holocaust.  But when no one stands up for what’s wrong, we’re all guilty of helping to hold someone down.

It’s not an easy lesson to learn but we’re affected by what we do to others, both positive and negative.  Some would call it Karma, others simply don’t like the bad feeling they get when they hurt someone.  Are you comfortable with the decisions you’re making about how you treat others?

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