Love Letters to Humans (no. 32) — on Punishment

You can’t punish someone into Right Relationship with you.

Punishment is prime anti-relational fuckery. It’s not always obvious; sometimes it’s sneaky AF. It’s not always conscious, but it always carries contempt and an intent to subordinate. Punishment is an attempt to dominate, control, or train someone into behaving in ways that we prefer instead of inviting them to choose harmonious relationship with us in mutual sovereignty and consent.

Some examples of punishment: Threats • neglect • revenge • verbal, physical, & emotional violence • insults, belittling, diminishing • name-calling • cruelty, intentionally causing distress or pain • persistent complaining • shunning, refusing to communicate • shaming • passive aggressiveness • withholding or withdrawing financial, emotional, physical, social support… and so on.

These punishments scale to fit almost all of our relationships—with ourselves, the people close to us, our communities, and the world. Our violence shows up at the personal, interpersonal, and collective levels. And here’s the thing—what shows up anywhere shows up everywhere. Anti-relational fuckery doesn’t exist in a silo.

We think we’re seeking justice and liberation in our communities, and then we emotionally abuse ourselves for our mistakes. Or we celebrate our seemingly harmonious relationships at home, while we insult, demean, and shun people who speak, think, pray, or vote differently than we do. How can we have Right Relationship if we do not practice Right Relationship?

We came by all of this honestly. We learned what we lived. -AND- we can choose something different. So much more joy and connection is available to us. We’ll explore it in REGARD.

REGARD: a 10-week exploration of Right Relationship begins on October 15th. Registration is open until October 12th.

Message me with questions or set up a time for us to talk. I’d love to connect.