What to do? – The Bystander Effect

I saw this video on a friend’s facebook page and it really made an impact, especially with what’s been going on in my life lately regarding speaking up and being authentic. Please watch the video – you won’t regret it!

Such a very powerful lesson at age 16 that impacted her whole entire life. As you can see, the experience was very significant and perhaps even traumatic for her, causing an emotional reaction as she recounts the story. It seems a part of her never left that classroom.

What do you do? Should be a no-brainer – get up and save the fish. We as humans are wired to care. It’s within us, it’s who we are. How is it that we have strayed away from this? Why is scholastic performance, as raised in in this example, become more important than helping to save a life? Really something to seriously ponder.

If I had been confronted with this particular situation, my actions would have varied depending on what stage I was at with my growth. As a young pre-teen person, I’d be shaking with fear, watching the fish die, praying someone would save it. I’d be saying – It’s all my fault. I must have done something wrong and am being punished. I used to take responsibility for the entire 5th grade class. In my mind it was always my fault – even though it wasn’t. Victim mentality.

Or possibly in my early 20’s or 30’s even, I would have been yelling at myself to go save the fish, get up and save that fish! Why aren’t you moving yet? Go save that fish!! Then immediately after someone else saved the fish – I’d beat myself up with guilt, you should have saved that fish. You should have been the one to get up and do it. Now you have to live with yourself as being weak. More victim mentality.

We can be really tough and downright mean to ourselves sometimes.

At yet another time in my life, I may have been in shock, thinking: What the heck is going on, it must be a joke. Please can we end this charade and move on with the class. So much of my life has been lived here. Keeping my head down, plodding along hoping for no rude interruptions. Just leave me alone and let me get on with it!

Waking up from Fear and being Controlled is a tough business, as is finding the freedom to speak up for the truth and defend the weak.

Being inconvenienced by having to wake up or do something. . . do I have to?

I’ve lived a lot of my life believing living was a massive inconvenience and I didn’t want to wake up and have to face this surreal existence. Ignorance is bliss right? Not until the cost of remaining small becomes greater than the payoff of remaining ignorant. I kept on keeping on, going through my growth-filled experiences, allowing me to gain a greater understanding of life here on Earth and clearing up my vision so I could really see.

A message from my guides!

I had, after all, made a commitment to come here to Earth and help. The stages of maturity are there for a reason. Some of us take longer than others. No judgment or value difference – just the path we choose.

The False-Kings-of-Tyranny want us scared, small and believing we are slaves, kicking and screaming all the way into suppression, doom and gloom. They program this into religion too as a way to control people – the tyrant God is to be feared. People in authority are to be feared . . . until they’re not. That’s the process of waking up and coming into acceptance of who we are.

When we fully accept and love ourselves – then that fear disappears and we become our own authority.

Given my recent experiences of waking up and becoming more authentic in my expression, how I’d react today would be:

Upon hearing the professor’s demands and watching him leave the room – I’d have to speak up after a few seconds. I wouldn’t be able to sit quietly in my seat. I’d get up, put the fish back in the bowl and then sit back down again. I wouldn’t care about the consequences. I’ve spent the past few years not complying without caring about the consequences.

Unless we are confronted with a situation like this, we rarely think about our actions or reactions. These past few years, many of us have had to really take a good look at this. Comply or not? Authority says to comply or suffer the consequences. What are the consequences actually? What are my priorities? What actions do I take if any? Many people were confronted with the possibility of losing their careers and livelihood. Is that even really a choice: comply or walk? Should anyone ever be made to choose something like this? No.

Lots of things to look at and consider, all contributing to the actions and decisions we can possibly make at the time. We really can’t look back in judgment – not a good idea. But we can take an inventory of our past experiences and go from there. As the lady in the video stated, this experience changed her life. I have no doubt of that.

Now, if I was the fish – I’d be like . . . Hey, what do you think you’re doing? Wait a minute there buddy!!! Don’t you realize I could die just so you can make a point? Put me back! PUT ME BACK!! 🐠 I have rights too!!

We are wired to care:

Finding Your Humanity in Times of Stressful and Uncertain World Politics

When it comes to the topic of transformation, Werner Erhard is my go-to person.  I recently watched a video on compassion with Werner and Dr. Jim Doty, one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons.  I found it extremely beneficial in that I learned we, as humans, are hard-wired to care, it’s our default state and it’s…

10 responses to “What to do? – The Bystander Effect”

  1. Julia Preston Avatar

    This story brings to mind how many missed opportunities I have had to do the right thing and didn’t. At this point, the best I can do is to observe those moments from a witness perspective, forgive myself, and decide in advance what I will do to not repeat the same mistake again. I pray I have the courage. Thank you.


  2. Scott Dubois Avatar

    love it
    Thank you for sharing this powerful message about compassion and our innate ability to care. It’s an important reminder to prioritize empathy and kindness in our daily lives.
    Scott Dubois
    Civic Edge Lifestyle


    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Path to My Heart Avatar

      Hi Scott, thanks for your comment! It is a great message about the presence, or lack there of, of empathy, kindness and compassion. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Sue Dreamwalker Avatar

    I so felt for that young 16 year old… and her reaction even to day on recalling it from memory, shows just how impactful that lesson was..
    And how it empowered her to go forward in standing up for what she believed to be right later in life..

    So many of us do not even realise the indoctrination of controlling that has been programmed into us… Comply, OR Else!…
    And the Fear of not succeeding, as in competition in grades and in being failed in you do not comply..

    I little like we have seen been in our world recently, as in the threats of being dismissed from your place of work, if you do not comply with certain medical procedures..

    I am often taken back to the Stanford experiments..
    ” The Stanford prison experiment was a psychological experiment conducted in the summer of 1971. It was a two-week simulation of a prison environment that examined the effects of situational variables on participants’ reactions and behaviors. Stanford University psychology professor Philip Zimbardo led the research team who administered the study ” Wikipedia quotation..

    How quickly those students who knew it was an experiment soon altered their behaviour patterns …

    You are so right Donna in that we were not made this way, most of us hold great compassion and empathy with others and animals… And your graphic of that Sign.. ” Please stay on the Path”…. Your own blog is testament to that.. ” The Path to My Heart”… And therein lies the Key…
    Following our hearts, our guts tell us exactly what feels right and wrong..

    And each of those students in that young 16 yr old class, knew it was not right to watch that gold fish die… Yet their conditioning of success, to succeed or be failed… was so embedded and ingrained into their minds… From a young age we get this all the time in education, not just from in school, but from parents, who often unwittingly pass on their programming of their educational, work ethic years, into their children to keep noses to the grindstone.. Work hard and how so many think it’s a failure if grades are lower than normal…

    At the end of the day, like this woman in the video, she is judging herself even today as she still feels the guilt of that moment…

    The Judges hammer a reminder that we at the end of the day Judge ourselves..
    I wonder if we each can live with ourselves in today’s world, KNOWing what we do, and staying just a bystander…
    I know I certainly cannot… What to do??? is to Stand up… and be counted.. following your hearts conscious…

    Great Post Donna.. ❤ 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Path to My Heart Avatar

      Hi Sue! Yes, exactly, at some point we must stand up and be counted, with our hearts in the lead. I had been knocked down a bit over the past few years of feeling unable to make a difference with those around me. I had to let go of them, let go of what I thought it was that ‘making a difference’ meant to me. It really does come down to following my heart. Like yelling at that man who damaged our barrier – in a way he woke something up within me. I ran out to him, yelling, standing for something. No it wasn’t pretty – but it sparked something within me. I was no longer a bystander in that instance. My guess is this is what humanity will face at some point. As the truth is revealed and can no longer be ignored – people may do as I did – run to their nearest politician or doctor’s office and start yelling! We’ll see.

      It was important for me to find what there is for ME to make a difference. What is my expression? So yes, today I’d save the fish – and wouldn’t care about my grades or that professor who told me to sit down and shut up. Life isn’t worth that kind of prison. Thanks for your comment Sue – I’ll look up that prison experiment you mentioned. They do these things so they can use them on us . . .🥲
      Take care, sending much love and blessings!! ❤️🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sue Dreamwalker Avatar

        Agreed its about following our hearts and like you said Donna, everyone at some point is going to have to face that moment when no longer they are a bystander, but stand firm in their beliefs of what feels right to them..
        No one can make that choice for another..
        And we have all of us I feel been challenged during this time to go within ourselves and truly look at what is important in life and what truly matters..

        Let us hope we all of us make those right choices if we wish to make a real difference in this world..

        Much love Donna… Have a great week.. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Path to My Heart Avatar

          Yes, Sue. Allowing what truly matters to flow without me getting in the way! Easier said than done sometimes. As more layers of darkness fall away, more light comes in and it’s easier to see what’s perhaps been right there in front of us all along! You too have a wonderful week!!

          Liked by 1 person

  4.  Avatar

    This video rocked me, and took me back to many times in my life when similar situations played themselves out, and I always thought.. ” What the hell, why didn’t they do something”.. It used to stop me in my tracks when I heard of similar themes where people did nothing in the face of cruelty.. For example a girl was abducted from a packed bus stop by 3 men and bundled into a car.. No one did anything.. If there is Karma then boy are those people going to suffer some back wash. A brilliantly written Blog and excellent example of the dumbing down this world is facing. Thank you Donna, for this well read piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Path to My Heart Avatar

      Thank you very much for your comment. It is strange how people have become, well not sure exactly, but almost like paralyzed when faced with a situation where action is needed. Maybe it’s fear, or panic – not sure, but the mind really has a huge part to play. It’s a very interesting phenomena none-the-less.


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