I haven’t time for ‘sides’, I think I gave up taking sides in disagreements when I became an adult. And yesterday when I heard a grown woman say to another grown woman: “Oh don’t tell me you’re taking her side, now!” I was stunned.
I know all the people involved in the disagreement they were discussing, and I didn’t realize sides had been established.
Why is that? Because the only time I’ve been on anything that resembles a side is when I was swimming competitively and our team was swimming relays – then I was on a team, not a side.
I can’t bend my mind round taking sides.
Surely life is about more than taking sides.
Yet taking sides seems to be a lot of what life is about. Politics and sports are well known for side-taking. Taking sides conjures images of football hooligans rumbling in the street after football matches because their side won or lost. Or political parties running hateful smear-campaigns to bring down their opponent – because they don’t know any other way to win. It makes no difference. The mentality must run something like this: “Hey those guys are on the other side, let’s beat them into the ground.”
Or the sides kids take in the playground at recess. You know those kinds of sides. Usually run by a bully.
We have a huge consciousness about bullies in schools, with children. Do we understand the bullying of establishing and taking sides as adults? In the workplace, community groups…you know what I’m talking about. As one person put it to me:
“They’re all blues. She’s red, and they don’t want a red person around.”
It’s not about the person, the work, the sport – it’s about establishing sides based on different colours.
Do you know someone who is a different colour? Their skin is the same colour as yours, their eyes slant the same way, their face and body are basically the same shape, but they’re a different colour: they think and act differently than you, they dress differently; they’re just different!
We call groups that group together on the basis of sameness, to the exclusion of anyone who’s different – who doesn’t fit their prescribed mould – as cliques. Cliques are usually headed up by – for the sake of discussion let’s call it a blue – king or queen who is, yes – a bully, or snob, hiding their bullying in self-righteous snobbery. The leader always has ‘persons-in-waiting’, including at least one die-hard hanger-on who will fight to the death for privilege of being a ‘person-in-waiting’. These people give the blue bully that added oomph to kick the butt of the other side, or the reds, as my friend puts it.
The only side I’m on, is the best side.
What does the best side look like? What drives it? What are its goals?
To do the best job it can do. To be the best it can be. To allow its light to shine brightly, and to encourage others to shine their lights, and give them opportunities to do so. That’s the only side I ever want to be on. The people I see on this side all have a beautiful glow, and being around them is like being in a big bowl of love.
So the next time someone asks you to be on their side in a disagreement, tell them you’ve already joined the best side, the side that lets everyone shine. You might also ask, depending on your relationship: “Why don’t you want that person to shine? What’s the risk to you in letting them shine?”
Does the amygdala drive bullies?
Ronan7Things wrote an interesting post on the amygdala – that reptilian part of our brain that runs the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism.
He writes in his post “Stress Reduction Close Your Eyes and Visualize:
It makes me wonder, is it the amygdala that drives bullies? Is it the amygdala that drives the blues to hate the reds? How much longer will it take for our brains to evolve so that the amygdala has been tempered – cooled down, so to speak?
The other thing you have to realise about the amygdala is that it’s a very old brain. The amygdala has remained basically the same for millions of years. It doesn’t understand television, it doesn’t understand video games and it doesn’t understand complex stress and relationship drama. What does this all mean? It means that the amygdala can not differentiate between real threat and perceived threat, real pleasure, or perceived pleasure.
Rohnan prescribes positive visualisation as a way to counter-act the over-reacting amygdala and trick it into thinking everything is great! And then everything is great! Because your amygdala has been reprogrammed. Oh how easy is that, eh? Just reprogram your amygdala with 20 minutes of positive visualisation, twice a day and all will be well.
My experience? It works. It really works. It’s an amazingly powerful, life-transforming tool. Practice, practice, practice. 20 minutes, twice a day – change your amygdala’s core program, change your life.