I’m reading a biography on an individual who used to be on reality TV and she got fired for several reasons. In her book she discusses cancel culture as it pertains to that experience and it hit me why this is such a dangerous thing. The discussion on cancel culture isn’t new, but I think it took me a long time to really digest all the implications and reading this book made it crystal clear for me. The reason this is important now is because the only way we are able to move forward and make progress in our lives is to create safety and inclusivity, not divisiveness and exclusivity. The other aspect of this is needing to really comprehend how our actions impact other people. There is a very real need to clarify and be cognizant of perception versus reality and finding a balance in believing perception is reality. For the record, I’ve never believed perception is reality. Yes I agree that experience shapes our perception, but that doesn’t mean it is fact.
Now the story that hit me most in this book and is most applicable as a whole was the reason for her firing. I’m keeping this intentionally vague because there is a lot of emotion surrounding what happened and that isn’t the point here—the point is the real result that happened due to someone’s perception. An individual was emotionally hurt by real actions and the author acknowledges that. But the result of that individual’s emotional hurt was the author’s very real loss of all income and capacity to network as well as her husband losing his contacts because of his association with her. The point here is that someone’s feelings were valued above someone else’s ability to sustain themselves. Should the author have done what she did? No. Did that action warrant losing her entire livelihood, all credibility for the work she did, and her spouse also losing his income as well as her family being threatened? Absolutely not.
The reason this impacted me so greatly is that in this community, I so often talk about lifting each other up and creating a way to fill our own cups. I also talk about controlling our mindset and perceptions all the time. This story is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Given a group’s perception of one incident, someone’s emotions were allowed to trump someone’s ability to generate a living. Regardless of how wrong the initial incident was, taking away someone’s ability to support themselves because of how you FEEL is not ok. We are meant to uplift each other and support each other and that means having the wherewithal to create a solid foundation of support for ourselves. Keeping our head high through the challenging times and knowing that someone’s words have no weight on us. Causing real damage in someone’s life because of our feelings or because of a theoretical situation that COULD have happened is completely unwarranted. We have to stop putting emotion ahead of reality.
I can see where some of this is conflicting because I am equally an advocate of honoring those emotions, and yes, I still stand by that. The difference is taking ownership of our emotions on ourselves rather than making other people responsible for how we feel. When we know who we are, we don’t need to throw a tantrum over how someone makes us feel. We acknowledge the action and we have the capacity to understand that action probably had nothing to do with us. Cancelling a person because of how they feel just isn’t realistic. No one would exist, there would be no support, and it’s completely counterintuitive to what we actually need. Learn to hash it out, learn to deal with the emotion, but don’t create a situation where someone actually gets hurt over your perceived hurt. Let’s lift each other up and learn what accountability actually is. That is where change happens.