"We feel love.and we know pain. We feel hope and we know struggle.
Sounds so simple. But yet for some it so difficult. Sounds so easy. But yet for some is so hard. Seems like advice you would give a child in school. Get to know them. You might like them. Or - I am sure if you hung out with Johnny or Sue you would find you have so much in common.
I am sure everyone remembers a time in their childhood that a parent or teacher told you this. Amazingly what did you find? They were right! The person you thought you could NOT stand to be near is now your new best friend. WHY? Why does this happen?
This happens because we are ALL human! We all have the same needs and wants. When we stand back and keep a distance - we get away from the person and we take away their dignity, This is dehumanization. This is a process that takes time and makes a group of people less important, inferior and overall less human. In 'Less Than Human' by David Smith it explains how as humans we must go through this process of using language, actions and then pictures to create an enemy that is less human. This unfortunately can be seen over and over in many war situations and in slavery.
You might be saying to yourself right now these situations are not part of my world. This is not something I deal with but unfortunately you are wrong. There are many places of dehumanization that occur on a regular basis. The biggest place I think we have all seen it is in social media. This is a place where it is easy for the person typing away at their keyboard to dehumanize someone on the other end. It is easy for people to disconnect and disregard another person's dignity.
Brene Brown states that this line of dignity is one that is being crossed every single day by many groups of people every single day. WHY? Fear. We have become a society that is not able to have meaningful conversation and agree to disagree. There is a need to protect the "house" or the "system" - and this is done out of fear.
Fear creates individuals that worry about fitting in vs. having true belonging. It is time to have what is Brene Brown calls conflict transformation and not resolution. Have a desire to learn and lean in and get close up. This is when YOU realize that people are hard to hate close up!
These questions can be used for group discussion or for reflection in your own journal writing.
1. Have you been in a situation where a system was being protected? How did you feel in this situation? Was it easy to get sucked into the emotions? Were you able to voice your opinion? Did you feel worried about not being accepted by the group if you had a different opinion?
2. Have you ever made a statement about a group of people but then found yourself defending the one person that was not like the others in the group?
3. Do you agree with the statement? - "Pain that is denied or ignored becomes fear or hate."
4. The story of Viola Davis is an amazing story. It is a story of pain, fear, courage and vulnerability. Have you had a moment in your life where you decided that the past was not going to define you?
5. EVERY story matters. Your story matters. My story matters. Have you written down your story? Have you shared your story? If, not... what are you waiting for? EVERY story matters.
"True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are. True belonging is not about fitting in, pretending, or making the people around us comfortable because that's safer." What then is true belonging?
I think we all have moments in our lives that we have said "Oh, I do NOT belong here!" And on the other end of the spectrum we have been in places where we tell ourselves; "Oh Yeah! This is MY place, MY peeps"!
For some of us this IS a daily occurrence. A daily task. And some may even say a daily chore.
But the question is WHAT is it that makes us seek this out? WHY do we do this on a daily basis?
Braving The Wilderness is a raw look into ourselves - our TRUE selves!
The author Brene Brown has done an amazing job at looking into all the stories we tell ourselves and why we use these stories and HOW they became our stories. What I absolutely love is knowing that we all have a primal instinct - a true desire to fit in - it is INNATE! Being able to truly belong we have to gain control over our story and then challenge ourselves each day with 4 basic elements.
Some may read this and think this is just another "self-help" book. NOPE!! This is all about just SELF! And how you can be the best self you can be! The world is a great place and can be an even better place when we take time for the people in it... and that includes taking care of YOU!
This book is great for a book club for friends, the office or just YOU. Over the next few posts I will post questions! Grab yourself a journal and a pen that you love and get ready to Brave the Wilderness!!!
Chapter 1 - Everywhere and Nowhere
1. Who do you seek out for wisdom? Make a list of 5 people: friends, family members, blog, books, talks, videos,
2. What is your first instinct? Do you choose those in number 1 that are full of energy, creativity and positiveness? Or do you find yourself looking at the snarkiest meme, a blog of complaints or even at the comments on a post - where your first thought is " WHO are these people"?
3. When as a child did you not feel that you belonged?
Write out your story. This may be short or it may be long - take the time to write out all the descriptions. How you felt. Your age. Who was with you. Where you were. The event. What was said. Were there certain smells in the air. What were you wearing. At different times we bring back different memories of the same event the goal is to put it all in one space.
4. What is your FIRST instinct when someone questions:
Something you have said? Something you have done?
What is your response? What do you do with your face? Your eyes? What happens to your skin? Your palms? Your armpits? What do you say? What do you not say?
5. Brene Brown talks about the story we have created starts when we are young. There is a single moment where we feel as though we are no longer part of our family. This is where it begins. This is where the silence begins and creates 3 forms of suffering:
1. Pain - you seek relief by numbing it or inflicting on others
2. Deny pain - and you pass this denial onto those around you
3. Courage to own the pain - develop compassion for others and the hurt all around the world
When have you found yourself handling the silence and treating it with one of the above outcomes in personal and in the workplace?
7. Give yourself a permission slip. Write it out. Set an intention. Take action.