“The purpose of all relationships is to create a sacred context within which you can express the fullness of who you are.”
–Neale Donald Walsh
In my work, the greatest setbacks and arrested development of people is connected with a preponderance of intolerance with imperfection, human growth and evolution, including mistakes and failures. A common way many deal with the pain and darkness in life is to say, “Get over it!”
This is a bad idea because we all need to be heard and validated in our pain and for mistreatment. When we are dismissed and discussion is avoided, or shamed, pain gets stuck within us. This happens because many people don’t make listening and validating pain and mistreatment a priority, or do it enough or at all, and that harms many.
For most people, we have been taught to avoid being with, and supporting each other in the darkest places. I think the avoidance of discomfort and preventing one another the sharing of pain is itself a virulent form of abuse and neglect that has huge consequences for all of us. The very rejection of our experience by our self and others is what causes us to be stuck and keeps us from making much-needed progress.
Until we do feel seen and heard, and not with pity but rather with calm presence and willing patience to hear one another fully without being dismissive or callous, we cannot release the painful and limiting past and move forward together as individuals, as brothers and sisters, as neighbors and friends, as co-workers, as community.
As inconvenient, unpleasant and uncomfortable as it is, we will only get stronger and better by allowing ourselves to be with hurt and pain and stay with the need for it to be acknowledged until that acknowledgement is no longer needed. It dissipates more quickly than most ever expect. By offering permission, release of pain and shame are quick and pain-free. Not only is this productive but it also inspires our intolerance for any form of abuse and injustice because as we listen deeply, we make friends, and friendship does not happen through avoidance.
Brene Brown, famous researcher on shame and vulnerability, says she is often discouraged from speaking out on shame and other darker topics. She has determined that until shame is part of the US conversation, she will make it top priority. That’s similar to my commitment to similarly share the causes of the inferiority complex within people which comes from conventional conversations and conditions including “Get over it!”. These unresolved issues, locked in by unspoken pain, and resultant shame sets up uninterrupted struggles within and between people. To heal and move on, each must feel visible, understood, and reassured.
Being present to the light and the dark BOTH, and fully, is one of the highest forms of love. From a practical standpoint in your business, it is the most productive and profitable thing you can do because it frees up creative energy that would be otherwise blocked. We can only do this for one another when we put down our defenses and our fears that we are guilty, and should then be punished. Our presence in the face of darkness will only happen when we care more about listening and reassuring then we do about protecting our comfort, our sense of self, and avoiding our own pain.
I hope you’ll read this article considering any callous or impatient parts within you towards you or others. I ask you to put down, “Get over it!” if you have been using this. Commit to become inspired to be a friend instead. Choose to recognize that many people suffer and have no outlet. For the most part they don’t need or want pity or rescue or your self-recrimination. They want to be seen and acknowledged and validated. They want your support and partnership in making the world a fair, caring and just place where we can all be part of the solution, not the problem.
Why People Hire LifeWork Systems
Business owners, community leaders, and educators hire Judy Ryan and Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace. For a limited time, Judy’s book, What’s the Deal with Workplace Culture Change? is available FREE at www.GetMyCultureBook.com You can also contact Judy at 314-239-4727 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, October 2017