Breaking Free - part II: Standing Up for Justice  

Posted by inkstainedhands in

In my previous post, I mentioned breaking free in terms of the choices you make -- not allowing others' perception of you stop you from being the person you feel you have to be and making the choices that are right for you. For me, breaking free has another component: being able to stand up for justice when you witness injustice.

In a way, it is easier to break free of the restraints other people impose on you when you are doing so for your own benefit, because you are frustrated enough with the way your life is that you are motivated to do something about it. There comes a point when you feel the need to stand up for yourself and say, "This is who I am; please understand that and stop telling me things like 'this isn't the person I know' or 'you aren't that kind of person.'" At some point you are able to tell people, "I'm sorry, but don't you think I would know what type of person I am better than you, since you don't know what goes on in my head?" When things like that happen, you feel a greater need to break free. The opinions of others matter to you, but not enough for you to keep sacrificing yourself and keeping your mouth shut.

But what about situations that are not about you but about someone else? While you would break free for yourself, would you do that for others? Would you consciously cast off the restraints that have shaped your life because your sense of justice is outraged by something you see happening to someone else? We're not talking about minor things, about telling someone off for some minor injustice. We're talking about issues that, if you take a certain stance, people are likely not only to judge you but to condemn and even attack you. While you would be motivated to stand up for what you believe in if it personally affected you, would you be brave enough to do that for other people? For the people in your life, and even for the people who are not in your life personally but are a part of the community you live in?

Fear keeps our mouths closed. We can believe in certain things, certain truths, we can mentally protest at the injustice that we witness, we can cry when we see what is happening, we can be passionate in our indignation, but are we brave enough to voice it? Or do we keep silent because our fear paralyzes us? Do we stand helplessly by as other people are hurt? When we know what is happening and every fiber of our being is protesting against it, why do we stand still? Are others' perceptions and expectations of us so important that we are willing to sacrifice truth, justice, honesty, and compassion? That we are willing to sacrifice people?

At what point do we ignore that fear and show where and with whom we stand, even when we know what kinds of reactions we will receive?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at Wednesday, May 18, 2011 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


You have to learn not to give a crap about what other people think. As long as you know what you are doing or saying is right, do or say.

May 30, 2011 at 6:20 PM

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