The Art of Manipulation

Public opinion, peer pressure, society’s eyes on you.

I. Hate. It.

I spent 10 years with someone who had manipulation mastered extremely well. I know because in those 10 years, as I grew up from a very insecure, self-conscious, depressed teenager into a little less insecure woman, I started picking up signs and the vibe that there was something fishy. When you’re insecure and people know exactly where and how to prey on your weaknesses, you try to convince yourself the vibes you’re picking up are just your paranoia, because you’re so used to people being mean and not showing you kindness.

But thank God it all crumbled down and although it hurt a lot, I could see things clearly, better, I could see them for what they were. Thinking back, I hated myself many times for ignoring my intuition and letting it get that far. I felt weak and pathetic. But through the couple years it’s been ever since I’ve broken free of that illusion, I carry with me the experience and all the lessons that come with it. I think I forgave myself for not letting go sooner.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, aside from recognising a manipulator from afar, is to not let myself be manipulated, to not allow myself to play their game. I’m not saying I’m invulnerable to it, just that I am really experienced on the matter and the fact that I have a strong code of ethics, which I take very seriously, make me open my mouth when my shyness would like it to stay closed, and I end up putting my foot down more often, speaking a little louder and standing up a few more times for myself. And when I look back, and see how I was able to argue without being rude and speak my mind and defend my beliefs, I’m proud of that, and it increases my fragile self-confidence.

I’m fascinated by words. The right words can create ideas, which become actions. Someone who’s good with words can instigate crowds and incite riots.

Unfortunately, not always these people have the best intentions at heart. People will talk. They will go in public, and, being good with words, they’ll shape the masses’ minds and bend it to their will. They will point fingers and scream “witch”, “sinner”, “bully”, “cheater”, in the hopes that the eyes of society will fall upon that person, and they will crumble underneath its weight. Thus, being reduced into something pliable, they’re manipulated into abiding by their world-view.

But who are they to say what is right or wrong? Who exactly are these common, ordinary strangers to judge you? What do they know about you or your life or your history and what you’ve been through? They are no one.

I have a very strict sense of morals, ethics are of utmost importance to me. After these 10 years, I have learned not to care about people calling me names like bully to get me to behave like they want. I’ve seen bullying from very close and it taught me kindness and empathy. I know I am not a bully. And now I’ve learned that if people think I am or choose to believe that just because I won’t conform to their expectations, then so be it. It’s their choice to be ignorant and it’s not their right to judge people without really knowing them. Actually, it’s not anyone’s right to judge. Just as the world doesn’t have to conform to their expectations – and it must be really tough living that way, banging their heads into walls every single day – they don’t have to conform to mine. They are also free to have all their faults and not be perfect and be in their own stage of personal-development (which may even be A LOT higher than mine).

Again, I only know me. I don’t know their history or what they’ve been through and have no right to judge. So I’ll just agree to disagree and not let society’s judgement manipulate me into being more quiet, or less me. I’ve always hated labels because of their power of restriction. Even more so when it’s applied to people. So, I’ve decided to try to not let the fear of what others are thinking stop me from being me or stop me from doing what I think is right. I can live with the fact that not everybody shares my point-of-view. I just wish there was more empathy, understanding and kindness in the world. Maybe then, even in spite of different point-of-views, people would get along better.

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~ by 1cellinthesea on April 23, 2013.

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