“If we don’t stand up for others, who will be left to stand up for us?”
– Karen Traviss, author
In my time as a Jedi there have been people who defended me, even if i was the one making mistakes. Honest mistakes. They put their reputation on the line for me and tried to protect me from unjust criticism, or worse. That made a deep impression on me and strengthened the bond I had with them. It also made me more comfortable with standing up for others, even if they would never stand up for me. That could be seen as foolish, but somehow I find it part of being a Jedi. I don’t ask anything in return but I think it’s important to learn when you should and when you should not do this. Sometimes people defend other people as a way of manipulating them to gain their loyalty in the future. That is not discussed here.
So how do you defend people appropriately? Let’s have a closer look at when you stand up for someone; explore when you shouldn’t; and see how you can stand your ground diplomatically and effectively, without damaging your reputation.
Why Stand Up for Others?
When you stand up for people, you show that you’re “on their side” when they need help. Ideally this builds long-term loyalty, trust, credibility, commitment, and morale, and it gives people a confidence boost. It also shows that you are focused on people’s well-being and interests, rather than on yourself. This helps to create a positive environment, an environment where people are not afraid to speak their mind, knowing that when they are attacked, someone has their back. There are, however, situations you shouldn’t defend people’s actions in. For instance, you can end up looking foolish if you jump to the defense of someone who has done something genuinely bad or unethical.
How to Stand Up for People
It can be difficult to know when you should or shouldn’t stand up for your people. Let’s look at a common-sense approach for doing it:
1. Know Your Values
It’s important that you know what you’ll stand up for, and what you won’t. This means knowing your own values and fully understanding a Jedi’s values and mission. Being a Jedi is being of service. We know the codes, we use them in meditation. It’s okay to call people out who behave contrary to them.
For instance, what standards of behavior are really important to you? What if a Jedi did something that seriously breached these standards and hurt others with his or her rude behavior? Should you not stand up for the people that are getting hurt? And what if a Jedi violated the Jedi core values? Should you defend his actions?
Although you can’t plan for every situation, you can prepare yourself mentally by thinking about what you’d do in certain situations. For a Jedi its important to uphold his values as they are the things people call us out over. I cannot tell you how many times people have asked me about other Jedi that did not behave like Jedi. We as Jedi defend the weak, who cannot defend themselves and the ones that are unjustly mistreated.
2. Analyze the Situation and Assess Risks
You may have to decide at a moment’s notice whether to speak up in someone else’s defense. In these cases, you’ll have to trust your own good judgment to make the best decision.
It’s wise to get your facts straight about the situation. Are you relying on one side of the story, or have you taken time to speak to everyone involved? Explore the behavior. Sometimes you can tell a lot by the language people use. I have seen a lot of bullies online playing the victim. It takes good judgement to see who you have to stand up for.
Another part of your analysis has to do with the person you’re defending. Has she done all that she can to avoid or remedy the situation? Did he truly do his best? Has one taken responsibility for one’s actions? Sometimes people need help with that, and that’s okay, it’s all part of our learning curve
3. Decide on Action
Once you’ve analyzed the situation, you can decide on the action that you’ll take. If you truly believe someone is wronged or made an honest mistake you can decide to support this person fully. Sometimes it’s enough to let other people see that you know what is going on, that bullies know you are watching, and that you are willing to intervene when necessary. I am not saying Jedi should be feared. “Respected” is a nicer word.
But in all things, remember you are Jedi.