How do I know if my Life is in Danger?

Happiness. 
The quality of life. 
Everybody wants more. However, how?

As a teacher and writer, I am always searching for ways to connect with and help others. These days it seems that violence and untimely death is on the rise -- whether it is just down the street or around the world. Knowing that the best place to start is right here where we are, I encourage folks to

Be the change they want to see in the world.
— Gandhi

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The D-Factor List is something I am developing as a way of identifying what we want less of in our lives, for us to lead healthier, happier lives.

In my research, the first few list in public health textbooks:

  • Disease;
  • Disability;
  • Discomfort;
  • Dissatisfaction; and
  • Death.

Use the D-Factor List as a guide for physical and mental wellness.

Undoubtedly, if we have little or none of these factors, life would be pretty good. However, over my years of study and work, I discovered, there are two more D-Factors that I collaborate with the most: Disrespect and Despair. It is easy to imagine how any one of these factors can lead to the ultimate quality of life killer, Death. A cause of death can be the result of someone feeling disrespected resulted in getting angry enough to kill someone. In the discussions about violence prevention, and how to communicate effectively to resolve conflict, the first step is to have respect for each person you encounter. Without that, the words we chose and the energy behind them will be counterproductive.

Another and more serious D-Factor: Despair of which can arguably be considered the most serious problem of all, even more than Death.  When my Grandmother was 95 with pneumonia after years of poor health, I realized there was no more suffering. However, being left with the feeling of Despair is a complicated emotion to live with, and, if not worked through, can lead to an untimely Death.

Despair from Bullying.

There are two main types:

  • Direct, personal, physical bullying, where the target knows who the bully is;
  • and Cyber-bullying, where it may be impossible to know.

Both types can be extremely malicious, violent, and deadly. Is this an increasing problem among children, or do we know about more cases thanks to social media and awareness raising campaigns?  Surely, it is a combination of both, because bullies who target their victims via social media have far most potent tools today than the boy who stole other kids' lunch money -- the torture is from a distance, for the whole world to see. The ease of access to this technology can be tempting, which can lead to many more cases of cyber bullying by kids who would never survive a physical confrontation. The most frustrating thing about cyber-bullying may be that it is hard to track down the bully and stop him or her.

Being taunted can easily lead to despair, which has then resulted in many cases of homicide and suicide. I have never seen such capacity for violence among the young.

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There are several types of cases:  

A bully uses physical violence or verbal and emotional abuse, sometimes causing injury or harm to his victim; the target retaliates in a way that could result in the bully's injury or, even worst, death; the victim, lost to despair, commits suicide.
Ultimately, it is essential to be alert to cases of abuse, whether it is at work, or on public transportation, or in social circles.  Begin conversations from a place of respect for others. Then we can reach out to a bully's target to offer the best kind of support, which is love. When a bully's target knows that s/he is loved, the edges of despair can dull down so that one more day on this planet is possible. When a target has good emotional support, it is then possible to think clearly and take action through legal means to identify and stop the bully.  While there is a possibility a bully many never be stopped, we can make a difference if there is awareness. Moreover, as bullying continues to build awareness or the support for targets becomes stronger, we can work toward preventing Death by Bullying.

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