Loving The HATERS…John Page Burton

Hate has always been present in my life. I wish this was not the case but unfortunately it’s true. All of us are exposed to a certain degree of hate and many of us have been victimized far more than others. The hater targets people who they classify as being different and who don’t fit into their view of how the world should look. Differences may include, sexual orientation, religious views, politics and ethnicity. Hate shows up in different forms and is often covertly displayed. For example, covert hate in the workplace may cause qualified people to be passed up for promotions, re-assigned or may lead to alienation by co-workers. YES this still goes on in 2014. As of late, hate seems to be inspiring certain religious organizations to boycott businesses owned by people who are not in alignment with their world view. In essence, certain religious leaders are saying…because you don’t agree with our point of view we will do everything in our power to destroy your business. This sounds pretty HATEFUL to me! This scenario is currently being played out as it pertains to Michael Sam, an openly gay, African American football player who was recently drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Visa is among the companies one particular religious organization is “demanding” that it’s “flock” boycott in order to “punish” Visa for sponsoring/supporting an openly gay athlete. In all fairness, there are numerous high profile gay celebrities requesting that their followers “punish” any business owner who opposes same sex marriage. Again this is sounding a bit HATEFUL all the way around. I am traveling to San Diego this weekend to celebrate the marriage of a same sex couple. Their marital choice is different from my marital choice yet I can still RESPECT, ENJOY and CELEBRATE them for being the amazing people they are. I have an African American friend who has published two books on the challenges of infertility. Everyday she speaks an uplifting message of hope for couples struggling with infertility. I RESPECT her for embracing Gods word and sharing her life experiences with those in need of understanding, grace and hope. If I had allowed sexual orientation or race to keep me from engaging with these amazing people I would have missed out on a truly enriching experience.

UNDERSTANDING…

Once we understand why someone CHOOSES to engage in a hateful behavior it becomes easier to understand how we can learn to LOVE and accept them for who and where they currently reside. The key word is currently… it is their CHOICE to remain there. LOVE may not be an easy assignment but one we must be willing to embrace if we truly desire to make a difference in the world. It is imperative that we teach our children to show grace and have compassion. Hate must never be an option!

HATERS…

Hurting. Haters live in pain. Their model of the world is based on a me against you mindset. Because you are different, you pose a direct threat to my way of life. I will get you before you get me. When a person is confined to this type of mindset they are never at peace. Angst, anger and fear are the dominant emotions that rule their life. Most haters have spent their lifetime living in pain.

OUR CHALLENGE is to view the hater with compassionate understanding. Recognizing that none of us were born to hate is the first step in this process. Hate is a learned behavior.

Attention. All of us crave attention and most of us will do whatever it takes to fit into a specific social group. This insatiable need to fit in will often lead the most gullible members of our society down a very dark road. We were ALL born into the light but shortly thereafter many of us were exposed to and remain in a very bleak emotional place. Haters seek out other haters because it is a way to bond and continue to feed their internal anger. Like Vampires, haters resist the light.

OUR CHALLENGE is to not play into the “haters trap”. When we practice “reverse hate” we are adding fuel to an ugly fire, one that if not extinguished has the potential to burn forever.

Taught. Hate is taught. The tenets of hate are passed down from generation to generation in much the same way as Great Grandmother’s fine China.

OUR CHALLENGE is to remember that we are offered two choices… LOVE or Hate. Our experience of the world will be shaped by which emotion we feed!

Ego. The chief function of the Ego is to create separation from others. This occurs most commonly in the form of jealousy, fear, envy and anger. On the other hand, LOVE encourages us to co-exist unconditionally.

OUR CHALLENGE is to ask the question…what would LOVE do? When we come from a place of LOVE we can show grace to even the most hateful people.

Resistance. Haters are resistant to anything new or different because it means they will have to give up control. Haters engage in this behavior because they view it (however dysfunctional it seems) as a way of exerting control in a world that for them has always been out of control.

OUR CHALLENGE is to release OUR desire that members of society behave a certain way. OUR personal power comes from knowing that we can control OUR response to another person’s behavior.

Stuck. Haters are emotionally stuck at a specific point in time (normally childhood). They have failed or are unwilling to move past this point. Haters will fight tooth and nail to keep from expanding or growing into a new point of view. Their hateful behavior will often accelerate in order to solidify their misguided beliefs.

OUR CHALLENGE is to bless the hater and realize that this is their chosen path. It may not make sense to us, however, it is where they currently reside. We can choose to step out of their energy.

We are free to choose our response to hate. We can return hate or we can bless the hater and be on our way. I tend to view a person spewing hate from the perspective of an extremely wounded child. This is their response to fear, change and uncertainty. Some of the most profound directives found in the Christian Bible encourage us to stay away from judgement, treat everyone with respect and dignity and we are reminded that we are NOT our brothers keeper. The Christian Bible is also very clear that any type of revenge or corrective action should be left in the capable hands of our creator, not man. Many religions and their revered spiritual teachers also encourage us to love our enemies. I admit that this can be very challenging to say the least. In the end the ball is left in our court…Love or Hate?

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

GOSSIPERS BEWARE…We’re Onto You!…John Page Burton

As a society we seem to be preoccupied with gossip. Many of us just can’t seem to get enough. The National Enquirer has one of the largest readerships of any publication on Earth yet the vast majority of it’s content is fabricated. People love “dirt”. Think about it, when was the last time “a friend” pulled you aside to share something really POSITIVE about someone else? He said-she said is one of the most unconscious games we play. So why do people love gossip? Does the gossiper provide an important public service or are they simply struggling to find significance in their own lives by analyzing and sharing details about ours? First let’s review three common types of gossip and then let’s take a closer look at the word gossip and identify some of the characteristics inherent to a person who regularly engages in this behavior.

3 Common Types of Gossip…

*Malicious- The intent is to cause harm. This type of gossip often shows up in the workplace and is quite common during divorce/custody proceedings. This type of gossip is almost always based on false or half truths and is designed to make the other person look BAD! “I feel so sorry for Susy because Paul is so careless when he has Jimmy. Did you see that terrible scrape on Jimmy’s head?” ***Jimmy fell off the swing at school and his Principal carried him to the school nurse.

*Subtle- Designed to drop a hint or start a rumor. This type of gossip is often based on jealousy or a desire to get even for a perceived wrong. This type of gossip gained it’s roots in high school but is often carried into adulthood. “You know that John had a child out of wedlock didn’t you? You should probably be careful with that guy”. ***John didn’t call her for a second date which irritated her.

*Unfiltered talker- They make a career out of sharing something about someone with everyone. Commonly referred to as the neighborhood “busy-body”. “I heard that Mark and his wife are having financial troubles, their house hasn’t been painted in a few years”. “Did you know that Sarah talks to the mailman for 15 minutes everyday and even had him come into her house the other day…looks like she’s up to no good!” ***Mark and his wife are putting all of their extra money toward the care of Marks sister who has a rare medical condition that is not covered by insurance. Sarah routinely visits with her cousin Larry who just so happens to be her mail carrier.

GOSSIP

Gullible. Gossip meets the needs of gullible people. How else can you explain the monumental success of tabloid publications. Far too many of us are so busy keeping up with the Kardashians and their family challenges that we miss the real life challenges within our own family. I recently read a news account of a teenager who committed suicide by using a hand gun. Her mother claimed she was in the other room watching “Real House Wives of Atlanta” and never heard the gun go off. She told police that she discovered her daughter after she “realized she had not seen her for awhile”.

Opiate. Gossip addiction is similar to drug addiction. The gossiper receives a fix due to the “rush” they get from sharing “secret information”. Withdrawal from gossip can be a very intense process. Forced to mind their own business, a habitual gossiper can easily have a relapse and fall back into their old, destructive pattern of sharing “information”.

Social Bonding. Gossipers tend to attract other gossip dependent people and together they form a social bond. For many people, gossip is the only type of communication they are comfortable with. Talking about and analyzing the lives of other people keeps the spotlight away from them and feeds their profound sense of importance. Like attracts like and soon a community is formed. Within this community a hierarchy will develop as members strive to solidify their position of importance and power. It’s a safe bet that gossip will start flying!!!

Self Esteem. The lower a person’s self esteem, the greater the chances become that they will engage in gossip. Gossipers are masterful at transference. The gossiper offsets their insecurity and fear by sharing and analyzing the perceived problems of others. By taking the focus off of themselves they don’t have to look at their own unhappiness. “Did you know that Sues husband is cheating on her because she had a breast removed? I heard it from a very reliable source”. I overheard this comment at a party we recently attended. The person who shared this “morsel” of information did so with a demonic gleam in her eye. As I watched Sue (the Cancer survivor) interact with other people at the party, it became obvious why the gossiper was so angry. Sue looks great, radiates happiness, smiles, uses touch in her communication with others and seems to be a genuinely happy person who has survived a difficult challenge. On the other hand the gossiper in question is 60-80 pounds overweight, radiates misery, has a wall surrounding her and oozes pissed off!

Intelligence. I have found that the vast majority of chronic gossipers possess below average emotional intelligence. Remember…Great minds talk about ideas, small minds talk about people.

Power. The habitual gossiper operates under a false belief that they somehow wield power over others. They remind me of the “proud peacock” as they strut around sporting their “I’ve got something on someone” look. The reality is that outside of their co-dependent circle of influence (if we can label it as such) their message offers nothing of value. Authentic power isn’t a bi-product of gossip. Authentic power is achieved through congruent actions based on integrity.

I embrace the first amendment and I am grateful for the wisdom of our founding fathers in making it the cornerstone of our constitution. Everyone is entitled to their point of view and we live in a society that affords us this liberty. Fortunately there are laws in place that protect our personal interests when freedom of speech gets out of hand. I.E. Libel, Slander and Defamation of Character. In my opinion, gossip only serves one purpose and that is to tarnish the reputation of another person. When I find myself in the company of a gossiper I immediately exit stage left. On the other hand, when I am around people who are discussing concepts and ideas I cannot help myself from engaging in the conversation. Another benefit of our amazing constitution is that we have the freedom to choose the speech we desire to listen to. Choose wisely my friends!

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

FATE or CHOICES? You Must Decide…John Page Burton

FATE is a word that many of us use to describe events that we believe are out of our control. Many of us describe FATE with words like destiny or divine purpose. For example, some believe that FATE is why Will Smith is one of the highest paid actors in the world and why Will Smith is also currently serving a 10 year sentence in a state correctional facility. Has Will Smith’s life been shaped by FATE or by his CHOICES? I recently spent time with a person who is having significant health challenges. This person is at least 80 lbs over their ideal body weight and they seem to have little interest in diet or exercise. During our conversation they stated that it was simply “their FATE” to experience health problems. I couldn’t help but believe their health challenges were caused more by their CHOICES than by FATE and that they were using the concept of “FATE” as an avoidance strategy. So why does one person named Will Smith end up becoming a box office sensation while another Will Smith ends up serving a 10 year sentence for armed robbery? Was it FATE or was it the bi-product of their CHOICES?

I am a true believer in the “laws of attraction” and I have experienced the awesome power of manifestation on many occasions. In other words, what I have focused on has eventually become my reality. I also believe in the law of motion which says that we must keep moving toward where we desire to be. Our actions must be congruent with our intentions. In order for Will Smith to have become the box office sensation he is today, he first had to practice, master his craft, believe in his talents, move to California, go to countless auditions and finally accept the role of the Fresh Prince on the hit show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Will Smith made specific choices that delivered him a life of fame and fortune. The other Will Smith made a series of choices that delivered him a much different lifestyle.

Everyday we are presented with choices. Every choice comes with a potential consequence. If I choose to drink and drive there is a distinct possibility that I may cause harm to myself or others. If I smoke a pack of cigarettes every day, there is a reasonable possibility that I will have significant respiratory challenges later in life. If I eat a high fat diet there is a possibility I will develop heart disease. If I engage in an extra marital affair there is a possibility that my marriage may end. There is also a possibility that none of these choices will produce any adverse effects whatsoever, which brings us back to Fate.

FATE or CHOICES? You decide.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

Wisdom Through Failure…John Page Burton

Friends,

First, I wanted to thank you for following and contributing to my blog. I truly appreciate your support of my work. I also wanted to let you know that my new book, Wisdom Through Failure is now available for purchase. This 220 page book features an array of ideas, philosophies and strategies that when applied are guaranteed to take your life and business to the next level and beyond. Wisdom Through Failure encourages us to embrace our perceived failures and to view them as necessary steps toward the attainment of true wisdom.

To purchase your autographed copy visit http://www.jpburtongroup.com

***25% of every book sold is donated to organizations dedicated to animal rescue and adoption.

I hope you enjoy reading Wisdom Through Failure as much as I enjoyed writing it!

John Page Burton