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Michelle McIntosh

Mother, wife, runner, and producer by day and writer by night, Michelle lives in Los Angeles... always plotting on ways to make the world a better place.

Why Do We Blame Victims?

There have been incidences in my life where I have been the victim of harassment, bullying, and atrocious behavior, and in some these cases, I received a backlash from people who ultimately treated me like I was the perpetrator – like it was my fault. To my shock and disappointment, this ‘second wound’ also came from some that I deemed close to me.

It happens every day- from small interactions to extreme cases like rape victims. It just happened to me today… this incidence stemmed from my standing up against a Montessori school who would not stop the bullying against my daughter, and then I received their wrath after calling Social Services. My girls were out of the school so they were safe, but I chose to continue my campaign against them to raise awareness of what transpired – all in an effort to protect the other children from the cruelty of the boys and the school’s lack of action. I did it for the safety and wellbeing of the children who were still there… but surprisingly I also received blame from some of the parents as well.

What?!

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Focus on Yourself First, not Others

I have long thought if we focused less on others and more on ourselves that we would all be a lot happier. And by focused on ourselves, I mean on our own negative perceptions, criticisms, and ingrained discriminations, as well as finding more ways to express our love, compassion, and generosity. If we cannot delve deep within ourselves and face the truth, we will never truly love ourselves – and most definitely not others… for we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

I have been thinking about how we judge others by what we fear in ourselves. If we see another race, we are afraid of being different like them. If an overweight person walks by, we cringe at the thought that we are too large ourselves. And when we judge a working mother for not being with her kids, we outwardly lash out on tarnishing the traditional role of a woman, but inwardly we are either scared of going into the workplace ourselves or we are jealous of her achievements.

We condemn others for what we feel ourselves… is this fair to them, or to you?  We put far too much attention on what others think and not enough contemplation on ourselves.  Setting pride, fear, insecurity, and ego aside, I believe if you focus on the root of what truly feels good to you, then you will always make the right decision.  If you dig deep enough, the answers are there – one must be quiet enough to hear them.

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Overcoming Negativity

I like to remind myself of something self-help guru Brian Tracy once said, “your mind is like a garden. If you do not deliberately plant flowers and tend carefully, weeds will grow without any encouragement at all.” Weeds grow on their own whether they get sunshine or rain, but flowers need cultivating and nourishment to grow into its most beautiful self. Such it is with us… negativity does not need any effort from us in order to consume our thoughts – it will run rampant in the absence of positivity.

It is a good thing to keep in mind. We have control over our thoughts, and we can choose how we view the world. I always found that to be a fascinating concept. That everyone can experience the same situation, but our individual emotions and reactions to it can change depending on our state of mind.  Ultimately it is OUR CHOICE how we experience the world so let’s take more responsibility for something that only WE control – our minds. No one can take that from us. If they did (through abuse, lying, etc), then it is our job to take the necessary steps to regain control over our thoughts and work through it until we can once again pamper our mind into a state of peace.

There is a basic consensus on how to start this journey.  I will share a few of them with you…

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It’s about Good vs Bad, not Black vs White

When it comes to discrimination and intolerance, mankind has been focused on the wrong aspect of this issue for far too long.  I understand, discrimination is a complex issue. There is a history before us which we assimilate into our ideology, and then pass along to our children.  We learn from our family’s, as well as our culture’s, fear and anger, and we take it on as our own.  We were not born with it, we were taught to this think this way… yet, let me ask – do we ever stop to think if we actually agree with this line of thinking?  Because we were taught, it also means we can unlearn it and educate ourselves about other belief systems which more closely resemble who we are.  If we do not make this effort, the suffering will only continue to be perpetrated.

We need to break the cycle, and we need to do it together.

For the sake of your children, the world’s people, generations to come, and yourself, stop and figure out what causes you to feel this fear and anger, and instead of reacting to those emotions, analyze them with a problem-solving cap on.  For one, let’s not judge a person until we know them enough to make an accurate assessment about their true character, which means that first impressions are obsolete.  Let me share another, broader thought to get you started…

It is not about black versus white, it’s not even about which gender is marrying which, or about who is Jewish and who is Muslim, and it’s definitely not about which immigrants are moving into our country.

I am here to tell you – it is about none of that.

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The Magic Medicine – in your backyard

On almost a daily basis, I cannot help but witness the suffering that occurs around me, and how it affects not only the ones we love, but the strangers that we see as well.  I am very in tune with this because it is ingrained within me to try to alleviate the suffering in others  – whether they want my help or not :).  But I can’t help it, sometimes I am aware of products or lifestyle changes that people can do which would make a pronounced difference in their health and happiness, and if I do notice this, I will make an effort to share my knowledge.  It may not work for them, but at least they now have the knowledge to try should they want to.  I challenge you to do the same… and no, I’m not talking about telling people how to run their lives, but if you have a recommendation that has worked for you, please – reach out and share… it may just be the tip they need to initiate a positive life change.

My thought is – there are many things in our life that we cannot control (natural disasters and the stock market), but there are many things we can (our generosity and taking care of our body).  We cannot view ourselves as victims because there is always something we can do to create a better outcome, and it all begins with our thoughts. Our thoughts are what push us into action – for better or for worse.  To put this more precisely, I see people everyday who suffer from ailments, not being able to lose weight, and experience uncontrollable emotional roller coasters – and it all feels like it is out of their control.  Well, I am here to tell you, my dear, it is not.  I have been there, and believe me when I say – I feel your pain. Allow me to share my story…

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Hope, not Heil

Maybe you guys can explain something to me. If someone, let’s say this lady…

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… goes to a rally as a quiet bystander in a show of peace.  Pretty soon, her presence alone ends up causing a crowd full of Trump loyalists to see her actions as ‘spreading hate’ and they react with venom.  Let’s break this down… a lovely lady in her culture’s garb, the only words spoken are words of peace on her tee-shirt, but yet it provokes such intense loathing that she ends up getting kicked out of the building in amongst vilely spewed harassment.  What am I missing here?  Can we all not agree this is extreme behavior?

Which leads me to- I need to have a word with you, Trump.  You have a great responsibility in your current role.  You have a tremendous opportunity to be a positive catalyst for change and a laudable role model for all those who look up to you.  But you have decided to pursue a different path and become the pied piper of lost souls looking for another way.

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