Last Updated on November 17, 2023
In 2nd grade I learned “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
I was already being bullied on a near-daily basis.
It wasn’t for something I did, but for who I was.
Different. Weird. Wrong.
Kids would just walk up to me and punch me, out of the blue.
As if my existence was disgusting and shameful.
I wanted to punch back, so one day I did.
And a teacher said, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
My First Attempt to Stop The Cycle
At first that just made me mad.
How was I supposed to stop them from punching me?
How was I going to get justice, if not by punching back?
But I contemplated that saying deeply, and ultimately I agreed.
If I punch back, then they feel justified to punch me again.
And then I feel justified to punch them again.
And round and round we go.
The only way the cycle stops is if someone stops.
The only way to peace is peace itself.
So 2nd grade was the last time I punched back until middle school.
For five years I was punched, insulted, spat on, and stolen from thousands of times.
But I never returned the violence.
Trapped in it
Then one day, for the first time in 5 years of being punched regularly, I snapped.
I reached the breaking point and I punched back.
A teacher witnessed the “fight” and gave us both detention.
After all, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Again I was mad.
Could they not see that I was being hurt every day for years?
Why did they do nothing when I told them, hundreds of times, about the violence I stoically endured?
Why did they only pay attention once I did what my bullies did?
I started having violent fantasies.
I made a dark plan to “get even.”
I didn’t know how to get out of the situation, you see.
I thought the only way was violence.
Saved by Love
And then I was saved.
Not by violence. Not by force. But by love.
My mom listened, the first adult to truly listen to my pain.
And she not only listened, she took action.
She got me into a private high school, despite not being able to afford it.
There I met a group of friends who were just like me:
A bunch of fuckin’ nerds!
My new friends didn’t bully me.
They didn’t even think I was weird.
Because we were all weird together.
We started the chess team, played Magic the Gathering, and Dungeons and Dragons.
We played video games and hit each other with homemade foam swords while pretending to be knights and wizards.
We had long philosophical conversations about life, the Universe, and everything.
Finally it was OK to be my weird self.
No Bad Parts
It was only years later I applied this principle to my inner world.
I was fighting a war inside too.
The “good parts” were fighting the “bad parts.”
But in reality, there were no bad parts!
All parts of us have a deeper positive intention, if we go looking for it.
We don’t find inner peace by doing more harm to ourselves.
We don’t find inner peace by winning an inner war.
We find inner peace by making peace between all parts of ourselves.
The same is true in relationships, in workplaces, and in the world.
It took a long time for me to heal only because I was still fighting a war.
As soon I started assuming all parts of me had positive intent, the healing truly began.
And that’s when I truly began living.
It’s OK if you can’t believe this yet.
I couldn’t see it for a long time.
All our TV shows, movies, video games, and stories say the opposite.
Kill the bad guy!
Then you’ll be the hero.
What they don’t say is that killing harms the killer.
Violence just keeps the cycle going forever.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Two “wrongs” we can think of as two steps in the wrong direction.
If you want to take steps towards peace, love, and happiness, violence is a step in the wrong direction.
But even if you don’t believe that yet, I know there is something far better that is possible for you.
It’s possible to be basically free of anxiety and stress.
It’s possible to be basically happy and peaceful, as a baseline.
It’s possible to have thriving, wonderful relationships with those closest to you.
That’s not to say I don’t get stressed or anxious or sad or mad sometimes.
I definitely do!
Nor are all my relationships perfect all the time.
But I’m no longer living in an inner warzone.
And you don’t have to either.
Fighting doesn’t work.
War doesn’t work.
Peace is the way, inside and out.
And peace is possible, through love.