“Do onto others as you would want done on to you”. In the case of people with disabilities, this has been thrown out the window right along with common sense. I was giving a talk once at The Centers for Independent Living and I brought this up talking about yoga to autistic adults. One adult turned to me and I said “I don’t believe in this one. What if you don’t care about yourself and you are not going to care about how you are treated”. He got me thinking and he was 100% correct. I asked him to write a book.
I began to look at therapists, teachers, and caregivers a little different. If you don’t have love for yourself or compassion for yourself, how are you going to treat other people? There are times I have walked into group homes and just observed the staff. Many have very low self esteem, clearly did not care what they looked like when they came to work, or they are just playing on their cell phones tuning out the world around them. Is this the reflection from the inside?
Think of the last time you didn’t feel well. You don’t put on an evening gown and heals or a tux. You put on a pair of sweats and curl up on the couch. The problem is, these are the people who are taking care of our loved ones. It doesn’t matter if I am talking about disabilities or senior care. How are they supposed to take care of others when they are barely taking care of themselves? (livable wages is a separate post)
This all stems from an incident that happened a few weeks ago now. As a warning, I will be throwing ABA under the bus. ABA is applied behavior analysis. It is a form of therapy that is often used for people with autism. They had written a plan that was clearly abuse. I had to report it. I am a mandated reporter. They truly believed what they were doing was the “right” thing. Even in a follow up meeting, I was completely gaslit. “Look at all the progress made doing it our way”. If this was my sibling, none of those people would have jobs today.
I would love to think humanity has not been completely thrown out the window as well. That is difficult. *Trigger warning examples are going to be listed here*. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the officer that murdered George Floyd, the people who terrorized the Capital Building, or the people responsible for 9-11. The one common thread is they thought they were doing the right thing. What does their inner world look like? How does that play out in their brains? Where does hurting another human become ok? It reminds me of the 5 klesas in yoga. Avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, abhinivesah. Ignorance, selfish, attached to their own drama or ideas, hatred, and fear. I am not talking about toward others. It’s the reflection toward themselves.
I expect more out of people that are taking care of our family members especially those with limited language or cognition. And, someday I will learn I can’t save the world.