Proposal: it should not matter what a person says, or what their intention is. It matters only what they do and how their actions affect other people.
Sounds simple? Let’s put it to practice.
It does not matter if a person says that they love you or otherwise care about you if their actions don’t make you feel loved. If they haven’t put in the work to find out what matters to you and how to best support you, then they don’t love you.
It does not matter if a parent says that they want “what’s best for you” if they fail to recognize what would be good for you now. Parenting is hard and there are no easy answers, but it’s made even harder when the parent is intent on shaping the child to be a reputable member of society, but the child has instead opted to shape a new society (as young people do).
It does not matter that a spiritual leader claims to care about your healing, well-being, or enlightenment. Their profound-sounding platitudes that look great on a social media graphic are devoid of any essence if we look at their actual life and the community that formed around them and recognize their activities as brand marketing with the purpose of generating material wealth.
It does not matter that a boss says that they care about a workplace and that they want to make it feel like “a family”. If they continue to delegate the hardest work to others, but still pay themselves five times the median wage, then what they care about is capitalism, not you.
It does not matter that a politician promises that they care about the people they represent, or talk endlessly about a policy reform. They are a public servant and we can check whether their influence and changes to policies have resulted in any positive effect on the communities they were supposed to serve.
Does it make sense for you? It makes sense for me.
So why the hell do we let so many people treat us in a way we don’t want to be treated just because they are our “lovers” or “family” or “thought leaders” or “a boss” or “president”?
You might be thinking: I’m lumping too many different types of people together into one group. But there is a common thread: they all came to us with words and promises of care, but often what they cared about the most were their egos and consolidation of power.
So how do we resist them? By taking away their primary weapon: words and promises. They gained power with their words. We can render them powerless by declaring them meaningless.
It does not matter what you say. It matters just what you do and how your actions affect others.