Handling The Racist Abuse Against Lighthouse – “It’s Not The Critic Who Counts”
By Jairaj Singh, Associate Partner at Lighthouse International
“The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt.”
This is my first article on Linkedin for a long time especially a personal one, like many it’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages but I believe the age-old excuse of “I never have the time”. Just one of a number of excuses I believe in my head that sabotage me from doing the really important things in life. I’ve been a mentor, coach and counsellor for over 12 years but in many ways, I feel like I’m still a beginner in my own journey of self-discovery, every time you learn about yourself you find another dimension of depth to look into. It’s like a universe within ourselves. We’re so busy exploring space as human beings and trying to colonise other planets when we haven’t even sorted out our own homes first (but that’s for another blog Mr Musk, Mr Bezos and Mr Branson et al).
I want to make this clear from the start that I’m writing this article to share my experience and help others who have been through similar trolling and persecution. This isn’t to have a whinge or play the victim for sympathy although I have done my fair share of that in my life 😉 It’s been a challenging 6 months but I’m coming through it much stronger and both myself and the team I work with at Lighthouse, my friends and comrades have turned the experiences I share below into value. Into helping children and adults going through similar things.
What compelled me to write this first blog is the straw that broke the camels back, an ex-business partner who was a part-time associate, bitter because he didn’t get a refund, went onto Linkedin the other day and tried to break down the work I and we have done with children. Using material from sites where the people behind them have levelled personal racist abuse that I and my brother Sukh Singh experienced this year.
I’ve had a challenging year in many respects, the business took a hit with Covid, people close to me lost loved ones. My relationship with both my mother and father broke down for the right reasons and a major thing that happened is we had 2 people leave our business after 2-3 years of working with us and demanded their partnership investment back which they weren’t due and we didn’t give them a refund so they kicked off and had tantrums writing stuff online. If anyone has built a team or a business they will know that when you have people in the team who are there for the good times but not willing to really take the risk and do the work they stand out a mile. They stay on the fringes, they aren’t willing to go into the arena.
It’s like going to university for 3-4 years doing the course and just before the end asking for your money back. It’s ridiculous but a huge thing I’ve learnt this year is people can seem all nice and friendly on the surface but the true test of a person’s character is how they handle a problem. One of these people I personally mentored and it was very much like a slap in the face but not entirely unexpected.
One of the biggest things I’m learning is that we are often fooled by those closest to us in our lives. In my work, we’ve spent 18 years trying to understand what the fundamental barriers are to our God-given potential in life. Why is $40 billion spent in the self-help industry yet there aren’t more genuinely happy successful people in the world? Why is young suicide on the rise? Why is mental health declining at shocking levels? Why are children killing each other like the recent shocking stabbing of 12-year old Ava White in Liverpool? Where are the parents? Where are the families? Society is breaking down before our eyes as my friend and business partner Vivienne Juan wrote about recently here.
We have more technology yet we are more disconnected than ever. One only hopes as I do that there is a God because we’re going to need something more than politicians, scientists and celebrities, to save us when this creaking financial system finally does hit the wall after injecting trillions to keep it on life-support.
I speak about families because a number of ex-partners and their families this year went online and started trolling me and us at Lighthouse. Calling us all sorts of things from a cult to a mind-control brainwashing organisation. Without any evidence. All illegal, all harassment and all because they were bitter they didn’t get their money back. They are being legally and criminally investigated for this but one of the things I didn’t expect was racist abuse coming my way from these very same people.
It’s given me an insight into what children might feel who get bullied every day through their phones after school. With smartphones now there is no escape. They seep through the walls. I mean imagine opening your phone to death threats each day and you’re an 11-year-old girl?
My mentor Paul Waugh who helped a family through a tragic loss of an 11-year-old girl to trolling said to me “If you feel like this Jai imagine how children must feel?” And you know what he was right. I considered myself a strong person but I was floored for a few months with the trolling online. I mean imagine working your whole life for something, sleeping on floors, borrowing on credit cards to build up a business doing what you love and then people come along and write anything they want online and try to destroy you? I am learning this is part of building anything in life. Stepping out from the norm and breaking the mould and I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without the support of my mentors. We all need support in life, not all of us find it and not all of us are genuinely open to it but we all need it. Of that I am certain. It’s meant to come from parents and friends but they are often the last people we feel we can open up to. I know in my case that was the case in the past.
This year my brother and I were compared to the Indian Variant of the coronavirus. Preying on innocent victims and their bank accounts. The screenshot is below. There are certain individuals out there who don’t believe things like this exist so I wanted to share it publicly so people can see it.
What I’ve realised is this is done by trolls and narcissists who derive a sort of sick pleasure in breaking down others as my friend Mel Francis wrote in her blog recently. It’s very common, it happens in families as many psychologists will tell you most damage happens in the home where parents want to control their children in as many ways as possible. It’s well documented. It happens when you tell someone you perceive to be your friend your dreams and they sneer at you and scoff because they don’t have the courage to do it themselves. It’s actually rife and I have personally seen it in families, marriages, amongst siblings and in friendships. Sadly these people have often been bullied in their own lives so they bully others. I know for a fact one of the partners who has left suffered terrible abuse at the hands of her family and sadly she is now I suspect involved in perpetrating abuse on others. Because that’s what it is, online abuse. Anyone can write anything online nowadays.
There is a quote I read the other day that I have often come back to over the years and it’s given me a lot of solace. You may know it as ‘The Man In The Arena’ by Theodore Roosevelt, popularised by Brene Brown’s use of it in her TED talk about Vulnerability. I hadn’t read the full speech until this year and it just moved my heart and soul. I wanted to share it with you below.
I write this article in dedication and honour to all those who have been persecuted by their families, for their faith or for any noble cause. I salute you, the willingness to step out and have mud slung at you takes courage and this year my spiritual journey to develop a relationship with God has helped me in ways I cannot imagine. I grew up culturally as a Sikh and after many years of searching for truth have embraced Christianity so I understand a bit about what it takes to leave old dogmas and paradigms behind.
If you or anyone you know would value any support or guidance in dealing with the negative and destructive influences in your life or persecution by anyone, feel free to get in touch. I have a lifetime of experience to share with you, as do the 30 brothers and sisters I’m privileged to know on the team at Lighthouse and fortunate enough to call my family. We have launched an initiative called Parents Against Trolls and Trolling as a result of the desperate need and the trolling we have received. It’s for anyone who genuinely cares about putting a stop to the damage our kids are facing. I’d love to talk with you more about it.
“The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities – all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. Their role is easy; there is none easier, save only the role of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who “but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier.” –
Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship In a Republic”, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910