Allow me to start this post off with a disclaimer:
I will NOT abide dishonorable people. You behave without integrity and I will boot you from my life.
This is not a passive-aggressive disclaimer. This is full-on aggressive.
If you witness a pattern of behavior that is unseemly and affecting someone else (e.g. backstabbing, cheating, manipulating), there is a 100% guarantee the same person will do it to you. If someone cheats on their significant other with you, per the pattern, they will cheat on you. If someone backstabs a co-worker to “help” you, they in turn will backstab you to help themselves. Being a good person will not change their behavior. In such scenarios you are not Special. You are not Unique. You are a means to their end.
Such is the law of living with human beings and working in large groups. Oh, and trolls.
This especially holds true with Leaders in communities; pagan and otherwise. One of the best pieces of advice I received from my former priestess — if the Leader’s life is shit and full of chaos, then they are not practicing what they preach. If they are touting knowledge of how to be financially successful and they’re in bankruptcy….run. If they insist they know the way to better life harmony or hold the secret keys to MAGICK ALL THE THINGS and all they do is talk, but not take action…..exit stage left.
Then there’s my personal caveat — it’s OK to call Leaders out on their bullshit. Leaders who play the victim card or hide behind a creed are not doing anyone any service, let alone service for the community. If they cannot handle a skeptical eye and honest questions, they are not meant to be Leaders in the first place. One of the rights as a thinking human being is to question authority. Pagan Leaders / Elders are not exempt. As a matter of fact, they should relish the opportunity to open up a dialogue with various not-likeminded people to share different ideas and possibly learn a new perspective. It’s about connecting.
Pagan Leaders / Elders are not absolute; they continue to learn every day within various forms of study or by exploring new interests. They are willing to look at themselves, even into their dank shadows, and uncover more insights into their character. Some have rightfully earned the community’s respect because they have conducted themselves with integrity and honor; whereas others still behave with pettiness and power games.
So, don’t be the Petty, or the Stabby, or the Exclusive Victim. Be transparent with others of your faults, take responsibility, and integrity will soon follow.