The Art of Reaction & Trusting Our Protectors

One of the beautiful behaviors of people is our need to protect. We don’t like bullies.  This becomes more the case the older we get.  There is something about seeing someone being treated terrible that we can’t stand.  Maybe it’s a new comer who is unjustly getting targeted, or it could be someone vulnerable who doesn’t have the means to stand up for themselves.  Either way, when you see opportunists attacking someone, you can be assured the protectors will come out if full force.

Bottom Feeder Nightmare Wikipedia.JPG

Those of us in the arts industry know all too well the backlash an artist can receive because of their popularity.  Here you are doing your best work and putting all your energy into the art you are creating, and when it’s time to showcase to the world what you’ve created, the bottom-feeders come out of the woodwork.  They’re like sharks sneaking up on you from small and unsuspecting places.

Having been in and then out and then back in these environments I’ve learned a few things, and I’m going to give you a little insight on how to understand and work with the negative energy.

Beating by Devils WikimediaThe first thing to understand is people are not going to stop.  We can dream all day of the “what if” and how things “should be.”  There are people who gain energy from being positive and creating beautiful things, including beautiful relationships, and there are people who are energy vampires and they will attempt to use their negativity to tear you down.  In fact, I’m sure there are bottom-feeders reading this post right now who can’t wait to attack me for writing it.

Here’s the trick.  Trust people to be who they are.  If they’re known for attacking people to build themselves up then they’re always going to do so.  Now, since you’ve picked out the bottom-feeders and you know how they are going to react, you can create your own reactions–not in a defensive tone but in a tone and advocacy for the positive things your doing.  Just remind them and anyone listening of the good things your work is focused on.  What will happen?  One, they’re not getting the negative response to feed themselves, and, two, you’re giving people in your circles the opportunity to see the injustice.  It’ll show the clear avenue of negativity coming from the bottom-feeder.

Next you’ll start to see other people come to your defense.  The protectors will step up and say, “She’s doing good things for her people,” in effect, and “She’s trying to help,” more or less. They’re going to stand up for you.  Why?  Because you’ve helped them see the positive things you are doing.  We have to remember:  these bottom-feeders want people to only see the negativity.  Everything they do will always come back to something ugly.  They’re incapable of doing it any other way.   In response, we must be prepared to “show” and “describe” the positive aspects of our art.  When the protectors can see, meaning visualize, how you are making your community better, then they are more willing to champion your cause.

To a certain degree, exercising some savvy, you can set up these bottom-feeders for failure.  Just keep putting yourself out there.  At some point, they will attack you.  Remember how I said, “Trust people to be who they are.”  Then when they do so.  Take your opportunity to call the community to action.  Remind them of the good you’re doing and how you’re bettering the community.  It’ll leave the bottom-feeders getting attacked for being so negative, and in the process you gain the solidarity the bottom-feeders are trying to disrupt.

 

(The images used in this post were borrowed from Wikimedia and Wikipedia)

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Oscar Hokeah is a regionalist Native American writer of literary fiction, interested in capturing intertribal and multicultural aspects within two tribally specific communities: Tahlequah and Lawton, Oklahoma. He was raised inside these tribal circles and continues to reside there today–half Native American (Kiowa/Cherokee) and half Hispanic. He earned an M.A. in English from the University of Oklahoma, and a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a recipient of the Truman Capote Scholarship Award and the Native Writer Award. He has short stories published in South Dakota Review, American Short Fiction, Yellow Medicine Review, Surreal South ’09, and Red Ink Magazine

29 thoughts on “The Art of Reaction & Trusting Our Protectors

  1. I love the phrase “energy feeders”, those are everywhere, and they are rather easy to spot, because they do literally drain the positive energy out of a situation and yourself. I’m not in any kind of art industry, but I get what you mean. People are going to be people, being prepared and trusting them to be who they are is the best approach to any kind of situation.

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    1. Energy feeders is a great term. They are easy to spot and you feel as your energy gets drained. Thank you for your positivity. It is refreshing and gives energy–a much more productive form of interaction.

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    1. How better to give them reflection. People who need negativity need a mirror. Terms like these are resonate. Playing nice with negative people never seems to work. That’s been my experience. We need to clear space for positive interactions among artists. But as I can see a slither of darkness always seems to try to creep in. I think I made this point I the post as well.

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      1. I just don’t understand the concept of “turning the tables” on them. I wonder myself, if someone says something disparaging to me, have I ever disparaged others? Notably, yes without a doubt. The more anyone feels targeted the more they will lash out. Iron sharpens iron my friend. I welcome the negative viewpoints, as I welcome the positive ones. All of the banter back and forth only makes everyone stronger in the long run.

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      2. I think you’re making my point. But ultimately it’s not competition that makes use better. It is collaboration. We can collaborate through negativity. Or we can collaborate through positivity. Yes, all energy will be used. That’s implied. But it’s positive energy that takes us further. While the negativity wallows in its own muck, we step out of the muck and realize there is a different perspective which can take us further into our art. But if we rehearse the same negative interactions we can’t know that. Those of us who have, can see how much more we can achieve. But yes, my friend, continue to wallow. I’ll be over here.

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  2. Brilliant post, so true the bottom-feeders will never change, no matter how you hope. You have to rise above them keep yourself on a different level. I have experienced them all too often. Redirecting their energy back to them so they can feel and experience what they are doing, still they will not change, impossible to change these people as they will blame someone else for their experience. Maintain positivity and faith to rise above them and keep moving forward.

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    1. Thank you, Puzzle. It’s interesting how so many of us have had the same experiences with these types. I wonder how much they understand their energy will be utilized against them. Like using fertilizer to grow a beautiful garden. I think if they were aware they’d still do it. Sometimes it’s hard to believe they have the ability to do otherwise.

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    1. Thank you, Wendi. Unfortunately, we see more than we really should, but I think we can spend a lot of time considering if things were a different way. The only person we can control is ourselves, so we must think in terms of taking the energy and using it for our own good.

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  3. This is interesting that you post this. As if you knew we needed this talk out here in the public. I often wonder how much of myself and my works I should share because I dislike the confrontation of explaining the w’s to people. I dislike having to explain myself at all but love to just let my work speak for itself. And the most annoying thing to happen is as you put “a bottom feeder” to come along and attempt to disrupt something positive that you are doing. They are the one to initiate the who, what, when, where, why in a negative light. But what I can take away from what you share is to keep positive and not feed the negativity with negativity but just keep on doing what is good and allow others to come to the defense that way you won’t get out of character. I just wish “bottom feeders” learn to appreciate what they can offer the world if they just opened up about their envy and get counseling. They are suffering mentally. Going about without checking their mental health. I wish them a better world within themselves to acknowledge that they can rise above without harming others. Most importantly themselves.

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    1. Thank you, Latonian. Good to see you over here on the blog. I hope to see you here often. Thank you for your words. You’re correct in wishing those individuals to gain help and insight. I think to more we can take their energy and redirect it back on themselves so they can see how they’re being and actually feel the reaction. You’re right that they have a journey to coomplete and there can seem to be a psychosis in effect. Yes, always stay positive. Keep doing good things. Most importantly, stay creative and channel your energy into your art.

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      1. Most definitely. Your writings and thoughts brings me back to a happier me where I believe creativity dwells welcoming new ideas. I most certainly will be coming to the blogs again and again.

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