Fact, Opinion, Hearsay – The Mobbing Culture

©2017 Gail Pursell Elliott

The old TV show Dragnet, the phrase “Just the facts, ma’am,” was something that was part of every program as the detectives attempted to sort out what had happened.  Too bad that we don’t do more of that today, not only in our personal lives but also in the media which seems to engage in more opinion and speculation than in factual information.  This is referred to as “leading with conclusions” which means that based on a small amount of factual information people fill in the blanks for themselves and come up with a speculative conclusion that is presented to the public.  Those who hear more than listen will pick out snippets of information and miss the “possibly” and the “may be” that precede the speculation then repeat it as fact. Then it becomes hearsay which unfortunately is readily believed. This is also how mobbing progresses.  When I see this happening I think “oh boy, here we go again”. We see this often in cyber bullying and inflammatory statements made by people online who have a bit of information and are more than ready to pounce negatively on the situation with name calling, slanderous remarks and hateful, hurtful messages.

So what can one person do to change such a culture?  It is a small but mighty thing. We begin with ourselves. We set the tone for our own world. We are an example to others. We just have to begin where we are and remember who we are and who we believe ourselves to be inside and act like it.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Quit playing armchair quarterback on the world.
  • Stop being ready, willing, and able to be offended.
  • Start paying attention to what is right rather than what is wrong.
  • Send out positive thoughts and feelings by looking for things to appreciate and commenting on those. What we focus on is what we empower.
  • Take a deep breath before reacting.
  • Forgive yourself for not being perfect.
  • Forgive others for not being perfect.
  • Remember we don’t have to agree to be respectful of another human being, nor do we have to be friends.
  • We don’t have to tolerate reprehensible conduct but we do have to remember not to act in kind or we become reprehensible as well.

You see where I am going here, I’m sure. Start with your personal dignity and self respect so that you will have it to offer to others and to help remind them of who they are as well.  And above all remember to be good to yourself and to those you encounter. You all deserve it.



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Call it Forth

©2002 Gail Pursell Elliott


Advent means “the coming.”

Advent means the state of coming into being

When something is coming we watch for it

We anticipate it

We call it forth

We bring it into manifestation


When a storm is coming we watch the clouds and the sky

Based on our experience

We look to the horizon

We feel the difference in the air

We smell the rain before it hits

We get ready to take cover

We watch and wait


For we have no idea

Despite the signs

The time of its arrival

The intensity of the experience

Or how it will affect us


For although we see it coming

It may blow around us

And never connect with us at all


Anticipation is to taste before eating

It requires that we let go of the past

and use the present

to prepare for the future.


When we anticipate we create our destiny.

What we focus on becomes our reality.


If we focus on the past it will repeat itself

In our minds and emotions

We bring it into the present

And cast its line into the future

Baited with whatever will attract

What we have in mind.


Whatever we focus on becomes all encompassing.

We surround ourselves with whatever

Will reinforce it.

We pick through options and make decisions

Based purely on that perspective.


Freedom is the ability to choose and trust

what we anticipate with our focus.

Anticipate a great day … It’s Yours!



©2000-2015 Gail Pursell Elliott All Rights Reserved.   Food For Thought is part of the Dignity and Respect mission of Innovations and is the intellectual property of Gail Pursell Elliott.

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Your Apple ©2004 Gail Pursell Elliott

Apples take prominence in a number of writings, such as Adam and Eve and the apple from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden.  The apple of Discord from Greek mythology described an apple as being a cause of controversy: when Discord placed an apple on the table for the most beautiful goddess and three fought to claim it.

Most of us are familiar with the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  The origin of this phrase is attributed to an old Welsh proverb that was later adapted in the United States.

The expression “apple polisher” refers to someone who tries to win favor by flattery, gifts, and other expressions of appreciation, sometimes thought to be insincere.

There is also the phrase “the apple of my eye” that refers to something or someone that is the focus of positive feelings or motivation.

All of these apple metaphors use the apple as something that causes a reaction or response from within that results in external consequences.

What is your apple?

Is it something that someone else has told you is of value, that you have accepted, and decided to fight for to gain recognition from others?

Is it something for which you are willing to sacrifice a promise or your own integrity?

Is it part of a ritual that you use to keep yourself healthy and balanced?

Is it the focus of your intent or purpose in your day to day activities?

Whatever you polish up and focus your attention on is what your apple is to you. It can be something outside of you or it can be your inner identity.

We polish the apple of our inner eye much in the same way that we polish a piece of fruit.

When we pick out an apple to polish, we usually discard ones that are damaged, since they can cause the others to begin to rot prematurely.

When we polish an apple we clean off environmental contaminants that dull the surface.

We allow the true beauty of the apple to shine forth with all of the complexities of color that it contains.

A well polished apple looks inviting and full of promise.

We are careful with our polished apple so it does not get bumped or bruised.

Some of us may polish up a bruised apple or an old one and show it off for a variety of reasons.

Others may believe that a bruised apple is the best that they have to offer.  Not true.

Apples grow on trees.  And within each of us is a tree that is continually producing the fresh fruits of insight and awareness.

The ones that we no longer need, or have overly ripened have fallen to the ground around our inner tree.  These old fruits are easy to pick up and try to polish, but with a bit more effort we can clear them away and reach for the fresh perspective of today.

Choosing the apple of our eye, what we will focus on and polish to a luster, is an exercise of our personal power.   When that apple is one of insight, awareness, personal dignity and respect, we are able to respond to the events and circumstances that each day holds from our true nature.

Taking this type of “apple a day” reduces stress, keeps us on balance, and enables us to see clearly.

Have a great day and be good to yourself.  You deserve it!


©2000-2015 Gail Pursell Elliott All Rights Reserved.   Food For Thought is part of the Dignity and Respect mission of Innovations and is the intellectual property of Gail Pursell Elliott.  If you enjoyed this Food For Thought message, you may share it with people you know. Honor the copyright and forward this email in its entirety. Use of material from Food for Thought, reprinting or re-distribution in any form or for commercial use, including reproducing or displaying on your website or including in a newsletter, requires permission.

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Food For Thought – Credentials

Food For Thought – Credentials
©2002 Gail Pursell Elliott

In the Wizard of OZ, Dorothy had three companions on her journey.  All three of them thought they knew themselves and their limitations pretty well.  They identified with what they lacked and were very open about declaring their defects.  They all believed if they could just get to the Wizard that he would be able to give them the gifts that they most desired the qualities that each valued most of all.

None of them realized that they already possessed their hearts’ desires.  What was necessary was for them to have some sort of external confirmation.  The Wizard did nothing more than validate those qualities in a manner that each could accept.   They suddenly had “credentials.”

Credentials validate accomplishments or qualities that are recognized by generally accepted criteria.   Credentials also can trigger assumptions and expectations that may or may not be accurate.  Some people equate credentials with value, insight, wisdom and other qualities that just may not apply.   For example, those who are ‘hung up’ on credentials may not accept a statement or point of view unless it is confirmed by someone else they consider to be an expert with what they feel are the right credentials.  This form of stereotyping is a double whammy.  Not only does it devalue human beings but also it establishes unrealistic expectations.

Earning a Ph.D. doesn’t necessarily make one an expert on anything other than the subject studied but often this is assumed.
Becoming an ordained minister doesn’t mean that one suddenly has an inside track on spirituality but often this is expected.
Achieving Eagle Scout rank doesn’t necessarily mean that one will always behave in an honest and trustworthy manner without exception but often this is inferred.

Credentials acknowledge great persistence and achievements that deserve recognition.  There is nothing wrong with having them or desiring to achieve them.  They are necessary for certain professions.  They can be extremely positive unless we lose perspective and use them as justification to discriminate:  to sort, label or categorize human beings. When we allow credentials to determine whether or not someone is taken seriously or treated with dignity and respect we are looking at the person stereotypically, requiring proof of the worth of their viewpoint or their value, whether personally or professionally.

The Lion was courageous but didn’t realize it until he was given the medal.
The Tin Man exhibited love and compassion but didn’t realize it until he was given a heart shaped watch to tick inside his metal chest.
The Scarecrow was intelligent but didn’t realize it until he was handed a diploma.

There are also important credentials that aren’t awarded by a governing body or board of review.  These other forms of credentials have to do with process rather than outcome.   They are essential when it comes to creating our destiny, determining our impact on the future, and being able to fully appreciate the present moment and its experience.   We all are aware of such credentials.  We look for them when we establish criteria for friendships, life partners, business associates, and other relationships or situations of personal impact.  These other credentials have to do with internal substance rather than external achievement.   One example is integrity.

We have the option of taking the position of the Wizard of OZ, to see past the limitations that others apply to themselves and to us, to offer recognition of the truth of the individual that is within.  In the final analysis, these are the kind of credentials that keep building upon themselves, because they become more than something we have accomplished.  They are internalized and become elements of the essence of our identity.  It is food for thought.

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Hello Friends!   A couple of weeks ago I was in an automobile accident which has left me searching for a new to me vehicle while waiting for the doctors’ ok to drive. So this Food for Thought seemed appropriate in addition to it being St. Patrick’s Day. Although this mishap did a number on my clavicle as well as my car, I am still able to present programs by phone. It is fun, easy and cost effective. I’ve been presenting these since 2000 and always enjoy the process and experience. This is a great time to encourage you to consider and schedule a Dignity and Respect teleconference program! Thanks and have a great day! Gail

DON’T WEAKEN  –  ©2004 Gail Pursell Elliott

As a young adult, I lived in an area of Pittsburgh, PA that was considered to be sort of an artists’ colony.  It was filled with old homes that had been converted into apartments and studios, tree lined streets, and charming shops.  After work I would head down to the main street to a little bar called the Pink Rhinoceros where I would join a group of other poets at a big round table where we’d take turns buying pitchers of beer and talk for hours on myriad subjects.
One of the regulars was an older, bleary-eyed Irishman who spoke with a thick brogue, Padraic O’Sullivan.  Paddy had a hook instead of a hand at the end of one arm and whispered speculation said that he had lost it to a big cat while on safari years before.  Whether true or not, we all enjoyed the plausibility and mystery surrounding the tale.

One evening the conversation was taking a grim turn as we railed against the fortunes of life as introspective people in a world that seemed bent on destroying itself.  Paddy listened in silence, took a long pull on his beer, leaned forward earnestly and said, “Sure now, life’s na sa baaad, y’know . s’long as ya doan WEAKEN.”

What weakens us?
Are we really in control of such things?

We sometimes may feel that our strength is tapped out by circumstances, by getting knocked off our feet, by great disappointments, disillusionment, sadness, or pain.
Then we start retreating and begin the process of cutting ourselves off from anything that might reopen those wounds.
We may become cautious and suspicious.
We may become jealous or resentful of others who may remind us of what we believe we have lost.
We may stop taking chances on people, on life and above all on ourselves.
This is the process of what is referred to as building walls.  The materials we use are derived from such feelings and perspectives as anger, hatred, sadness, disappointment, or fear.

When we separate ourselves from others we begin the process of cutting ourselves off from the rest of creation.  We then weaken ourselves by focusing on the wall or what separates us rather than on the strength that we can draw from the positive opportunities that are all around us.

Focusing upon what is wrong rather than what is right in our world is one way that we weaken ourselves.
Another way we do this is by carrying around feelings of shame or guilt for either not measuring up to what someone else thinks we should be, or what we feel we should exemplify.
One of the most insidious ways that we weaken ourselves is by concentrating on our accomplishments and focusing on achieving more of them. In the final analysis, they can construct a fortress that prevents us from connecting with others in an open and vulnerable way.
Achievements can be very positive as long as they are kept in perspective.  They are things that we do, not who we are.

Whatever we focus upon is what is empowered by us. Focusing on our external accomplishments too much can cause our inner identity to become invisible to others and finally to us.  Without a new project we can feel lonely.  What we are lonely for is ourselves.

When asked to point to ourselves, none of us points to our head or our hands.  We instinctively point to our heart.  That is the part of us that matters and must not weaken.
Our true strength is not the strength of our heads or our hands.  We stay strong by keeping ourselves connected to the truth of our identity, our personal dignity, the part of us that is unchanging regardless of the circumstances of our lives.
When we keep our personal power, our personal dignity and self-respect remain intact for we remember who we are.  We can remain open and receptive, with an awareness of our connection to the rest of creation.

Life can be good, even filled with wonder and hope, as long as we don’t weaken.

Anticipate a great day.  It’s Yours!


©2000-2015 Gail Pursell Elliott All Rights Reserved.     Food For Thought is part of the Dignity and Respect mission that is Innovations and is the intellectual property of Gail Pursell Elliott.

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The Challenge

The Challenge
©2004 Gail Pursell Elliott

“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

It has been said that all evil needs to prosper is for good people to do nothing.
Why would good people do nothing?
Perhaps it is because they feel that they can do nothing to change things.
Perhaps they feel that they should mind their own business.
Perhaps it is because they have enough to do without getting involved.
Taking a stand can be risky business.

Most of us believe that we know what evil outcomes look like, sound like, and feel like, but many of us don’t understand the process that leads to these outcomes.
We often do not know when we are participating in that process.
Have you ever played “ain’t it awful?” or “armchair quarterback on the world?”
Have you looked the other way when someone is being ridiculed or otherwise treated without respect?
These are obvious ways in which good people do nothing.

Some of the tools of evil are lies, deception, fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Sometimes these tools can cause positive people to take negative action that they feel is justified.
Sometimes they cause good people to do nothing because evil inspires confusion.

The first front of this battle exists within us.
The challenge is to evaluate the basis of what we are thinking, saying, or doing.
Are our actions based on reactions to fear, uncertainty, or doubt?
Have we been taken in by appearances?
Are we participating in our own deception?
What we really want is to be true to ourselves, and sometimes that takes the greatest kind of courage.

The challenge is to base our thoughts, words and actions on what we believe to be true rather than reacting in-kind to negatives.
To make sure that what we do is based upon our own values and inner truth.
To be true to ourselves, we must first take the time to know what that truth is.
Being true to ourselves is holding on to our personal power.

When we do, we make our impact on the world in a positive way. The ripples fan out in all directions and it changes things for the better whether we ever see the results or not.
Being true to ourselves rather than reacting to circumstances is a profound exercise in truly minding our own business.

We may think that we have enough to do without getting involved. What we may not realize is that we are already involved. Everyone alive is very involved: leaving their mark, setting examples for others, impacting the world by either reacting to it or refusing to be distracted by it.

Being true to ourselves, holding on to our personal power, identity and inner integrity can be risky business. It is a challenge that all of us face.

We can allow evil to prevail by doing nothing or we can do something by finding our inner truth and being true to that vision.

The challenge is bondage or freedom. The choice and the power is ours.

Have a great day and be good to yourself. You deserve it!


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