I read advice columns. I sometimes find valuable information that benefits me or I can pass along to others. At times I shake my head in awe at the nonsensical issues people seek advice about, like the biggest debate ever in Dear Abby’s history: which is the correct way to hang a roll of toilet paper - paper across the top or underneath? Really? This is what people are concerned with?

Other times, the stories are tragic and my heart aches for those struggling. Then I read stuff that baffles my mind: people complaining over the most inane issues and fabricating problems where none needed to exist. Consider the following: a “military mom”, whose sons and husband served in the Marines, is livid her daughter is seriously dating a physician with no military background. She complains to that although he is nice and respectful to all and her daughter is very happy with him, they refuse to accept him into the family based solely on that one condition.

“Why should this young man get to go to school until his late 20s, get a job right away, and live a totally comfortable and entitled life while other young men leave their families and never come home?” The hair on the back of my neck stood up. (Let me mention here: one of her sons made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.) She accuses the boyfriend of “throwing our family’s sacrifice in our face by living in the lap of luxury” and cannot imagine having him as her son-in-law.

Clearly this mom has not healed from the tragic loss of her child and seeing the boyfriend may be triggering her pain. However, she exacerbates matters by making outrageous assumptions and accusations against him: he “lives a totally comfortable and entitled life” while “living in the lap of luxury”. These statements are arrogant and judgmental. Anyone less than a member of the military is considered unsuitable as a future family member. Her closed mind and heart prohibit her from recognizing his attributes and valuable contributions he’s making to society. Her expectations that he conform to her idealisms are disrespectful and hateful and are responsible for her anger and bitterness.

While many fail to see themselves as bigots, their behavior suggests otherwise. Prejudice comes in all sizes and shapes much less recognizable than the more obvious ones such as skin color, sexual orientation and nationality. Any form of bigotry creates a breakdown in families and society, leading to anger, resentment, hatred and bitterness. It robs us of fully appreciating the uniqueness and beauty of those in our company.

Until we recognized and addressed each, prejudice lives like an assassin among us, killing any opportunity for acceptance, appreciation and unity and putting each of us at risk. Where are the hidden assassins in your heart? Ferret them out so all may be embraced in your life.

Author's Bio: 

Janet Pfeiffer, internationally known speaker and award-winning author, is one of todays most highly sought after seminar leaders.

As a leading authority in the field of anger management and conflict resolution, Janet serves as a consultant to such companies as the U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, AT&T, Hoffman-LaRoche, Rutgers University, Carnival Cruise Lines, United Way, YWCA, New Jersey Education Association, Care-One, Insurance Restoration Specialists, Learning Annex, William Paterson University, Catholic Community Services, Passaic County Community College, American Business Academy, Bergen County Police and Fire Academy, Cook’s College, Kean University, Rotary, Ocean County College, Kiwanis and more.

Janet received her N.J. State Certification in Domestic Violence and is a consultant and instructor at a battered women’s shelter.

Janet has spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University (for the NACSDC National Conference), has served as committee member and keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a member of the National Police Suicide Foundation and past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.

She is a former columnist for the Daily Record and hosted her own cable TV and radio shows. Janet has also been a contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo Magazine, Prime Woman Magazine and N.J. Family. She has recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Fusion, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.

As an inspirational speaker and private consultant, Janet is a frequent guest on radio and TV and has appeared on CNN, ABC News, The 700 Club, Lifetime, NBC News, Fox, CBS News, The Harvest Show, TruTV, Celebration and more than 100 top radio stations. She appears as a regular guest on WGUN Radio (Relationship Thursdays with DJ Kay and Janet Pfeiffer) and is a regular guest on Ebru Today. She is also the host of her own radio show, Anger 9-1-1, on W4CY.com.

Janet runs “The Antidote to Anger Group” for court ordered offenders and those with issues of anger. Additionally, she is a member of EAPA, NJAWBO, ISBOG, MVP Seminars Speaker’s Bureau and Visions in Motion Speaker’s Bureau.

Janet's books include: The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times best selling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel), 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Vol.3 (co -authored with Mark Victor Hanson of Chicken Soup For the Soul), The Seedling’s Journey, The Angel and The Gift, The Orchids of Gateway Lane , Jordan's Promise and Dying To Be Safe: Ultimate Solutions to Violence.

She has been nominated for many prestigious awards including the Russ Berrie "Make a Difference Award", 2010 NJ Governor’s Jefferson Award, and has been presented with SOS "Positive Life Force" and "AOH" awards.

She has achieved recognition as an award winning author, photographer, and race walker. (1994/1995 NJ Gold Medalist; 1994/1995 National Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalist in marathon competition), and is also listed in the "Who's Who in Authors".

In 2001, she founded "Reunion of Hearts", Reconciling and Reconnecting Estranged Families", the nation's first non-profit support group of its kind dedicated to the emotional healing and reuniting of estranged family members.

Janet is a graduate of Englewood Cliffs College (now part of St. Peter’s).