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On Insults in Dialogue
Mar 11th, 2014 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Here I am, late to the party, but this article on Skepchick got me thinking. Apparently, last month, there was a big blow-up about ableist language used in another post, and this Skepchick article addresses the issue. I don’t agree with much of the article, and I don’t hang out in the Skeptic community, but all that is really beside the point. What I find so interesting is the amount of words spent — both in the article and in the comments section — on the whole problem of whether it’s okay to use an ableist insult, whether anyone should care whether people are triggered, and whether we should all just get over being offended.

To me, words like “idiot” and “moron” and “stupid” are ableist, so I think that people were absolutely right to raise the issue. However, I think that there is something quite — I don’t know, odd? — about arguing over what kind of insults are allowed in dialogue. The whole problem could be solved by sticking to content, respecting the dignity of other people, and staying away from insults altogether, yes? Then you’d never end up with an ableist insult coming out of your mouth or off the keys of your computer.

The purpose of an insult is to hurt, to shame, and to demean. So is it any surprise that people who are uninvolved in the argument end up as collateral damage? Is it any wonder that sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism start creeping in when the insults start flying? After all, if an insult is meant to hurt, to shame, and to demean, then what better way to do it than to make implicit comparisons to people who are already hurt, shamed, and demeaned?

This is why I do my best to stay away from insults and why I’m not interested in anyone coming on my blog and launching them. It’s not just painful to the people involved; it has the potential to add to the marginalization of already marginalized people. And no, I don’t think we ought to be compiling lists of non-bigoted insults. I think we ought to be able to talk to one another with dignity about how to fix the problems in the world we live in.

But obviously, I’m a dreamer. Being harsh and cruel is so acceptable now that I often wonder why I even write these kinds of words. And then I remember that I write them so that others who feel as I do will know that they’re not alone. I write for people like myself, who would rather have an insult be a rare event and not a common and acceptable mode of communication.

I hope our culture can move back to valuing respectful dialogue. Of course, there is no reason to romanticize the past. It’s true that there have always been all kinds of disrespect and indignities visited upon millions of people, and respectful dialogue was not the experience of the many. I’ve experienced disrespect, indignity, and assault in my own life, and I come from a people that experienced it for many centuries. What I remember, though, from my earlier years as an activist, is that people who wanted to create a just world valued respecting people. They valued raising up people who were not respected into the light of dignity. They felt that the only way to create peace and justice was to model it. What I see now is exactly the opposite — that we’ve given into the idea that, because the world is a brutal and violent place, it’s somehow all right to be nasty with each other.

I don’t see our society valuing respectful dialogue any time soon — perhaps not even in my lifetime. I’m realizing that what I’ve worked so hard to do all of my adult life — to engage in civil dialogue while staying rooted in all of my emotions — is no longer of value to most people in the society I live in. This realization saddens me more than words can say.

© 2014 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Speaking Love and Anger: A Response to Ngọc Loan Trần’s “Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable”
Jan 1st, 2014 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

There are many things I like about Ngọc Loan Trần’s article Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable. I’m particularly struck by the author’s insistence that, within social justice spaces, we be kind to one another — that we acknowledge that each of us is ignorant, that we understand that we are all debriefing from the constructs in which we were raised, and that we support each other as human beings as we go forward to create justice:

We fuck up. All of us. …. But when we shut each other out we make clubs of people who are right and clubs of people who are wrong as if we are not more complex than that, as if we are all-knowing, as if we are perfect. But in reality, we are just really scared. Scared that we will be next to make a mistake. So we resort to pushing people out to distract ourselves from the inevitability that we will cause someone hurt.

And it is seriously draining. It is seriously heartbreaking. How we are treating each other is preventing us from actually creating what we need for ourselves. We are destroying each other. We need to do better for each other.

We have to let go of treating each other like not knowing, making mistakes, and saying the wrong thing make it impossible for us to ever do the right things.

And we have to remind ourselves that we once didn’t know. There are infinitely many more things we have yet to know and may never know.

I want us to use love, compassion, and patience as tools for critical dialogue, fearless visioning, and transformation. I want us to use shared values and visions as proactive measures for securing our future freedom. I want us to be present and alive to see each other change in all of the intimate ways that we experience and enact violence.

This is all absolutely beautiful, and I am so happy to see someone talking about it. I am unbelievably tired of the verbal violence that passes for dialogue, particularly in social justice spaces, and anyone who pleads for coming from a place of love and empathy mixed with anger and pain is a person after my own heart.

But there are a couple of things about the article that call me up short. One of them is the way in which the author talks about people having “strayed.” There is something about that idea that feels both deeply foreign and painfully authoritarian to me. The concept appears in the following context:

I picture “calling in” as a practice of pulling folks back in who have strayed from us. It means extending to ourselves the reality that we will and do fuck up, we stray and there will always be a chance for us to return. Calling in as a practice of loving each other enough to allow each other to make mistakes; a practice of loving ourselves enough to know that what we’re trying to do here is a radical unlearning of everything we have been configured to believe is normal.

There is a Christian paradigm here of “straying from the fold” that I find very troubling. I don’t come from a Christian background of bringing people back into the fold; I come from a Jewish background in which we already belong and are free to disagree. So, in the context of the piece, what exactly is the ideology from which people “stray”? Who decides? Is it necessary to think about a central ideology around which we must all constellate, or should there be more room for critique, for disagreement, for generative argument? Straying assumes that we must come back to center. But whose center? Mine? Yours? Any group that treats me as though I’ve “strayed” is likely a group that I will “stray” right out of, never to return.

My other issue with the piece is that it is directed only to people inside social justice communities. There is not necessarily a problem with this approach, per se. After all, making sure our own communities are functional is a prerequisite for trying to create a more just and loving society. But I’m also aware of the necessity of applying “love, compassion, and patience as tools for critical dialogue, fearless visioning, and transformation” with people who are outside of social justice communities — with people who haven’t heard our critiques of the status quo, who haven’t examined their own complicity in oppressive systems, who haven’t done the reading or had the discussions or entered into the discourses that are so familiar to us. To me, this is the real challenge. How do we call people in who are way outside of our communities without exhausting ourselves, getting run over, or compromising what we believe in?

I believe it’s possible. I believe that we can combine love, compassion, patience, anger, outrage, pain, and despair as we talk with others who are outside of our circles. If we don’t combine all of these feelings — if we’re only in a place of anger and outrage, or we’re only in a place of love and compassion — we’re living at the polarized extremes that our society has taught us are normal, expected, and beyond critique. We’re creating either endless war or a false peace.

We can do better. We must do better.

Reference

Trần, Ngọc Loan. “Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable.” Black Girl Dangerous. December 18, 2013. Accessed January 1, 2014. http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/2013/12/calling-less-disposable-way-holding-accountable/.

© 2014 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Inattention to Accessibility: Am I Part of the Disability Community, Too?
Nov 24th, 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

I am finding it more and more difficult to use words like “accessibility” and “inclusion” these days. Much of the problem with these words is that they assume an inside and an outside. If you’re “accessible,” to whom are you accessible? And if you’re “inclusive,” just who is outside that circle?

I ask these questions today out of a great deal of personal pain, feeling that very little inside the disability community is accessible to me or inclusive of me. I also ask these questions with a great deal of fear and trepidation, realizing that my already rather precarious position within the disability community could become even more precarious. But that apprehension has never stopped me before. I am, if nothing else, a perpetual outsider, because I will critique just about anything that I feel is out of kilter with stated principles or simply not working. I don’t engage in these critiques because I think my ethics are higher and better. I engage in them because if I don’t, I can’t ethically and emotionally navigate while maintaining my sense of who I am as a human being.

So here goes.

I am becoming more and more aware of how deep and wide is the chasm between my work in disability studies, on the one hand, and my work as a disabled person serving other disabled people, on the other. I split much of my time in disability land between working on a master’s thesis about disability culture and counter-narrative, and serving homeless and hungry disabled people who live in one of my city’s parks. As much as I love the academic work I’m doing — and as much as disability theory in general has enriched my life and my ability to understand all of the many forces that impinge upon it — there is very little connection between what I study and what I actually do in the world. Any time I’ve been in an academic program, this disconnect has troubled me, but it’s quite a bit more problematic when the field of study is about a pervasive political and social issue and not, for example, 19th-century English literature. What I am to make of the disconnect between my academic and social work? My current program, to its credit, emphasizes bringing theory into practice and yet, I find that there are not a lot of role models for how to do so.

In addition to this disconnect (or perhaps because of it?), I find that, even within disability studies and disability culture, I feel a sense of apartness. To begin to describe why, let me direct your attention toward where the last Society for Disability Studies conference was held: Orlando, Florida, just outside the entrance to Universal Studios.

For those unfamiliar with the needs of many neurologically atypical people, may I be blunt? Having a conference outside of the entrance to Universal Studios is rather like saying, “We’re having our conference across the street from the gates of hell. All are welcome!” Does anyone have any idea of the aversive impact of noise, crowds, visual overstimulation, and other sensory assaults that provoke an immediate OMG get me out of here response on the part of a great many of us? I’m not just talking about autistic people. I’m talking about people with a wide array of sensory, cognitive, chronic pain, and fatigue issues. Having a conference in such a place renders that conference inaccessible to many of us.

Apparently, this fact is not yet on the radar, because the conference organizers advertised the venue as the perfect place to talk about our “various realities”:

This year’s theme is “(Re)creating Our Lived Realities.” Playing off our particular location of Orlando– the home of Disney World, Universal Studios, and Epcot Center – this year’s conference theme seeks to explore the myriad ways in which we work to (de)construct the various realities in our lives.

Any place within 50 miles of Disney World, Universal Studios, and Epcot Center is going to be a no-go in terms of a conference for me, because using up all my spoons just to get in the door is not how I see accessibility working.

But then, of course, even if a conference or performance takes place in a more appropriate location, there is the inaccessibility of the conference or venue itself. For those of us with sensory and social differences, this inaccessibility is not limited to SDS by any means. It is pervasive. There is no thought given to the fact that walking into a venue with 20 or 50 or 100 or 500 people talking and socializing at once before the talk or the performance starts would put some of us into an overloaded, overstimulated, exhausted state. So what choice do we have? Walk into an inaccessible environment that causes pain and exhaustion? Or stay home?

Of course, there is just the appearance of choice here. There really is no choice for me. A performance venue or a conference might have ramps, ASL, CART, and any number of other accommodations, but I literally can’t walk into a sound-rich environment. It’s like a force field. It renders a venue just as inaccessible for me as if that venue did not have a ramp for wheelchair users. Walking into that kind of environment, and actually staying there, would be analogous to wheelchair users dragging themselves up the stairs in the absence of ramps and trying not to look too exhausted in the process. Possible, but hardly dignified, safe, or optimal.

Are my disabilities not as important?

A couple of weeks back, my friend Bill Peace wrote about an experience of being humiliated and excluded as a wheelchair user at the Humanities, Health, and Disabilities Study Workshop held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. I shared his outrage over the treatment he received. A lot of people did. But I wonder where the outrage is for people such as myself, who could putatively walk into such a conference, but who could not last more than a few minutes because of the sensory overstimulation, the inability to filter sound, the difficulties socializing in conventional ways. Because let me tell you, if you can’t do those things, you’re not even going to get close to such a conference in the first place.

I have watched for years while some of my peers with visible disabilities are able to navigate the professional disability world in a way that I cannot. Not everyone with physical disabilities can navigate that world, obviously, and these folks are hardly representative, obviously, but they are there and they are quite visible, and they have access because they are neurotypical. I have the intelligence, the drive, the passion, the commitment, all of it, just as they do. But there is this very thin membrane that keeps me from entering into that world, and that thin membrane is all about the fact that I perceive experience differently and have a completely different way of being in the social and sensory world.

It’s a source of tremendous grief for me. It’s like being this close to reaching something and always having it out of reach. I’m an incredibly tenacious person, and my tenacity will not get me past that thin membrane, ever.

So the question of “Am I a part of this community too?” runs very deep in me, and I feel very conflicted about it. On the one hand, I feel that people respect what I do, and I am amazed at the sorts of conversations I’m able to have online in various venues. On the other hand, I’m keenly aware that I am on my own, as I always have been — and I’m cognizant of the limited nature of what’s available to me in the disability community. It’s almost like watching my place in the community phase in and out. Up to this point, I’ve been stuck in the feeling of “Well, that’s just how it is. I can’t tolerate noisy public settings or socialize in conventional ways.” But now I’m thinking, “Wait just a second. That’s locating disability in my body rather than in the environment. Is there some good reason that conferences and cultural events have to be a sensory and social nightmare? Is there some good reason that they end up on the list of inaccessible venues, much like most nondisabled venues? Is there good reason to exclude people for social and sensory differences?”

And the answer is always the same: “No, there is no good reason at all.”

I’m still waiting for the outrage over this lack of access. But I have the feeling I’m going to be waiting a very long time.

© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

I Wonder What They Were Thinking
Sep 17th, 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Last week, I was coming home from a housecleaning job in Live Oak. I’d been working at that job once a week for the past few months, but the people were moving, and they needed me to come and do a final cleanup for them. So I went over there several times, helping them get organized and cleaning up the apartment.

Ordinarily, I’d take the bus to the job and walk the four miles home. I love walking and it’s a nice way to relax after working during the afternoon. But on Friday, I was incredibly tired and I decided to take the bus back.

When I picked up the bus at 4:45, it was crowded and all of the accessible seats were taken. Some of the people using them were clearly disabled; others did not appear disabled, but might have been. My general policy is this: Unless I see someone who is very clearly nondisabled sitting in an accessible seat — such as a young man with a skateboard — I won’t ask the person to get up. I won’t make assumptions. For all I know, a young person who doesn’t give up an accessible seat might have an invisible disability, and I’m not going to question anyone. I pretty much depend on other people’s sense of decency around this issue; if a person doesn’t need the seat, I depend on that person to get up. Often, that works out well for me. Occasionally, it doesn’t. But it’s worth it to me to not question a person as to whether they’re really disabled or not. I’ve had that happen to me too many times to want to run the risk of doing it to someone else.

So I went to the back of the bus, where the aisle is narrower. I had a pull cart with me that had a few very light things in it. The bus driver told me that I couldn’t have the cart blocking the aisle, and that I had to put it in the luggage area at the front of the bus. So I traipsed down the aisle with my cane in one hand and the handle of the cart in the other. I put the cane down, picked up the cart, put it in the luggage rack, picked the cane back up, and went back to my seat.

As I was doing this, I was wondering whether I was confounding people’s expectations of a person using a cane. Were they surprised that I could stand on my feet long enough to pick up a cart and put it in a compartment three feet off the floor? Did they think I was faking disability? I’m not sure. But I was very interested in the contrast with how I used to feel walking through the world with only invisible disabilities. Before I used a cane, I generally had people assuming I was nondisabled and perfectly capable of doing everything in a “normal” way, and I was aware that they were rather shocked to discover that I’m disabled. Now, I generally have people assuming that I am disabled, and I’m always aware that they may be shocked when they see me doing things in a “normal” way.

No one said anything. I didn’t sense anyone giving me the evil eye. But I wonder about it. There is a self-consciousness I feel now that wasn’t there before — a sense that other people might be expecting me to live down to expectations. It’s very odd. Living down to expectations has never been my style. So it gives me a sense of power to just do what I need to do, whether it confounds people or not.

© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

A Conversation with My Fellow Travelers
Sep 11th, 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

I have begun handing out bag lunches in the park by the river. A great number of homeless people hang out there during the day — some in the meadow, some by the pond, some under the trees. The bag lunches are nothing fancy: a sandwich, some fruit, a dessert. I carry them in my rolling cart, and I walk along with my cane, asking people whether they’d like something to eat.

On Monday, I happened upon three guys sitting on benches — two on one bench and one on the bench across from them. Two of the guys were white and looked to be in their 60s. The other was in his 20s and Hispanic. All were very, very drunk. I walked over and asked if they were hungry and wanted some lunch. They took the lunches, and then one of the older guys said to me, “Sweetheart, we’re just a bunch of drunks. You’re traveling in the wrong circles.”

I said, “I don’t care if you’re drunks. You need something to eat, don’t you?”

At this point, the older man on the other bench called me over and gave me a book of scriptural quotes, kissing it first. The book was one of those little 3 1/2″ x 5″ photo albums into which someone had fit pages with scriptural passages. He showed me the pages. “This one is from Romans,” he said. “And this one is from Palms.” (Not Psalms. Palms. I loved that.)

I thanked him for the gift. As I turned to leave, the first man repeated a version of what he had said before: “Sweetheart, we’re just a bunch of drunks. We have money for food, but we spend it on booze. You’re traveling in the wrong circles, sister.”

Somehow, the repetition just stopped me in my tracks. In a split second, I felt so keenly how many people have been cast out from so many circles. I felt so keenly how many circles I’ve been cast out from over the course of my life. I felt how much I love what I do, because I can move through the park, and be accepted, and give kindness and respect, and receive it in equal measure.

So I just smiled and said, “No, brother. There are no wrong circles.”

And then I went on my way, carrying them with me, knowing they are kin.

© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Drunk, But With a Story to Tell: Just Another Day in the Crip Section of the Bus
Aug 27th, 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

So this morning, I was riding the Santa Cruz Metro bus to Live Oak when a woman tried to get on without paying the full fare. She told the bus driver she had only 50 cents. He told her she couldn’t board. She told him that she had to go and get her check. He told her she couldn’t board. She offered to pay double the fare tomorrow. He told her she couldn’t board.

I felt so badly for the woman that I offered to pay her fare. Of course, she was pleased – perhaps a little too pleased. She immediately ran over to me and said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” and hugged and kissed me. I could smell the alcohol on her breath.

After she paid her fare, she sat next to me in the accessible section and hugged me again. And again. And again.

I have a very difficult time talking to people when they’re drunk – unless of course I’m drunk, which I wasn’t, because it was 11:30 in the morning and, besides, I don’t drink. But the woman was really very sweet, and we had a pleasant conversation, which was punctuated by many pats on my knee and a few more hugs. And then, because she was curious and had very little verbal self-control, she asked why I use a cane.

I was in a generous mood, so I told her. To my surprise, she did not respond by telling me how I could cure my hip with prayer, yoga, or herbal remedies. Instead, she lifted up her shirt and showed me – oh my God — a partially healed knife wound in her abdomen.

I didn’t have time to feel cranky about the fact that she’d only asked me about my hip so that she could show me her wound. I was too busy listening to the story she told about how she’d gotten it. The story didn’t make a lot of sense, but from what I could piece together, she had been tutoring a woman’s son, and the woman came in and got angry and stabbed her. Somehow, in addition to the knife wound, she also sustained a back injury and ended up with two titanium plates holding her spine together.

On a normal day, I’m tongue-tied with drunk talkative people, but this story put me way into the zone of I have no idea what to say and never will. So I attached myself to the one point of commonality I could find.

I said, I have a titanium plate, too — in my neck! I have no idea why. I just needed to say something. Anything – other than, Oh my God oh my God oh my God.

She high-fived me, and my stop came up soon after. She hugged me again and promised to pay my fare next time.

Life is nothing if not interesting.

© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

You Don’t Have to Thank Me For Doing the Right Thing
Jun 29th, 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Over the past several months, I’ve become aware of how much I say thank you on any given day. In many ways, it’s just second nature. I was raised to say please and thank you and you’re welcome and excuse me, to hold doors open for people, and to generally look for ways to be courteous. It’s ingrained in me to say thank you any time anyone does anything for me at all.

The odd part? I thank people just for doing what they themselves expect as a matter of course.

In a post today, Dave Hingsburger at Rolling Around in My Head talks about this phenomenon, noting that he thanks people for what they take for granted every day. They assume the right to pass through space without barriers. Dave thanks people for making it happen for him.

Like Dave, I don’t think that showing my appreciation of what people do for me is wrong, per se. Courtesy has its place, and exchanging thanks is way of saying, “I see you and I appreciate you.” But when there is no even exchange, and when people feel a little too much gratitude for basic things they should expect as human beings, there is a problem.

The question of saying thank you has been coming up a lot for me lately around the issue of space. When I first arrived in Santa Cruz, I spent a fair amount of time weaving around people on the sidewalk. In the rurals of New England, where I come from, people tend to give each other a wide berth. But oddly enough, here in mellow hippie crunchy Santa Cruz, it’s very different. Most people have a strangely aggressive sense of space. Perhaps it’s just the fight for space in an urban area, where people have to stake out their claims. I’m not sure. But I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve had people practically dare me to get out of their way on the sidewalk or assume that I was going to walk right into the street to make room for them. Since I’ve started using a cane, I’ve become very sensitized to it.

The first few times it happened, I thought that the folks who passed a little too close to me just had a poor sense of where they were. But then it kept happening every day, to the point that it became statistically impossible that so many people had spatial orientation issues. There is a strange sort of game that people play around space, and for a while, I found myself saying thank you to people for making space for me — even when they were taking up more than their fair share of space and impinging on mine. While other people were expanding their sense of space, I was making it a virtue to get small and take up less. And then I was saying thank you for people letting me by.

After a couple of experiences in which people became actively hostile, I decided to take a different approach. I decided that I had to stop bobbing and weaving. I had to stake out my claim — just my claim, without challenging the claim of anyone else.

So now, when I walk down the street and I see people taking up the majority of the sidewalk, I don’t walk onto the street. I keep to my trajectory, I hold my head up, and I show that I expect them to get out of the way. They generally do. And no, I don’t thank them. They’ve done the right thing. They’ve taken up their space and no more. Things are as they should be.

I shouldn’t have to thank them any more than they should have to thank me. Of course, I have my own set of privileges. People thank me all the time for doing the right thing, and I need to start speaking back to that, too. If I shouldn’t have to be constantly thanking people for doing the right thing, other people shouldn’t have to constantly be thanking me either.

The issue comes up most often in my interactions with people on the street. There is almost always someone sitting on Pacific Avenue with a sign asking for spare change, and I’ll sometimes ask if I can get the person some food. The responses to these offers vary. Some people just say no and ask for money. I’ll usually give a few dollars.

Most of the time, though, people take me up on the offer. And most of the time, people are very thankful — thankful in a way that pains me. It’s not that people are wrong for saying thank you. It’s that the whole damned deal is wrong.

I recognize where some of it comes from. I’ve had times when I’ve felt so demeaned and so ignored that any kindness filled my soul with gratitude. It wasn’t so much a choice to feel that way as a moment of sheer relief that I didn’t have to have my defenses up for five minutes. When you’re in that position and someone comes along to do a kindness, it’s like manna falling from heaven. There’s a gratitude — not just for the person, but for whatever God or cosmic power or act of fate dropped that person into your path.

I watched this kind of gratitude and relief come over the face of another person yesterday. I was talking to a guy trying to get into rehab and a shelter. He looked so surprised — no, shocked — that I was being kind. It was as though he were looking at a mirage. When I asked him what he wanted to eat, he mumbled something about beggars not being allowed to be choosers.

When I assured him that, in fact, he could choose, he asked me for an egg salad sandwich. And as I was going to get it for him, he said, “You’re an angel.”

That’s when something broke in me. An angel? Just for getting a man an egg salad sandwich? No. I couldn’t let it pass. I said, “No, I’m really not.”

As tired as I am of thanking people for doing the right thing, I’m even more tired of having an excess of gratitude come at me for doing the right thing. I don’t mind being thanked as a courtesy, and I don’t mind expressions of gratitude to God and the universe for whatever good things come along, but I’m tired of getting kudos for treating people like human beings. The gratitude that comes my way says so much more about the world we live in than it says about me. It’s not that I’m an angel. It’s that the world we live in is exceptionally harsh and uncaring. You do the right thing — which is what we’re supposed to be doing in the first place — and it looks exceptional only by comparison.

No one should go hungry.

No one should be spat on.

No one should be harassed or assaulted.

No one should be ignored.

No one should have to thank someone profusely for space, or access, or bread, or kindness.

All of these things are a matter of justice, not a matter of charity.

So I need to stop constantly thanking people for doing what’s right. And I need to let people know that they have a God-given right to expect me to do right by them. I don’t need their thanks. I just need to do the right thing.

© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

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