This is a lot.
There are some VERY heavy things happening in the world today, and if you’re like me, it may feel like a lot to process.
I spaced out some extra time in-between my newsletters this week because I needed to find some clarity. I needed some time to listen, deeply.
I needed some time to listen to the pain, needs, hopes, and ideas of others from a place of compassion, respect, and curiosity. I needed to lose the judgment.
And, I wanted to take some time to listen to my own inner pain, needs, hopes and ideas from a place of compassion, respect, and curiosity too. And again, without judgment.
After some reflection, here’s what I have to offer.
I believe to the depth of my soul that we humans are inherently good. Except for the rare psychopath (none of which subscribe to my newsletter), most of us live by values that we can be proud of.
And although what we value differs from person to person, we can be sure these values are noble.
When newly working with a client, one of the first exercises we do together is designed to help them identify their core values so they can use them as a guide when making important decisions. I encourage my clients to think of this as their “sacred ground”, a way to stay authentically true to themselves.
In this exercise, I ask my clients to look at a list of more than 100 values and choose the top ten that are the most meaningful to them. Some examples of the values included on this list are integrity, courage, honesty, empathy, and fairness, to name a few. Generally, most people have a difficult time narrowing their list down to only ten because all the values on the list are so significant.
I love doing this exercise with my clients because it helps me learn so much about them and helps them learn more about themselves. This is because we generally don’t think much about our values. Our mind thinks of our beliefs as facts – like, this is what a “good” person believes or does – and so the idea that other people don’t value what we do typically isn’t up for consideration.
But here’s the thing, when I do this exercise with my clients, they are always different. And, the way they express their values is different too, based on their individual beliefs and perceptions.
For instance, two people may share the value of “loyalty”, but they may express this value in different ways. For some, being loyal may mean covering up for a co-worker who messes up on the job, while for others it may mean reporting that person to the business owner.
So, as I’ve been observing and listening this week, I’ve noticed a lot of this. People with respectable values conflicting with others because their core values differ or the way they express them differs.
I’ve noticed people talking at each other instead of listening to each other, with predictable results.
And if you know anything about confirmation bias, then this isn’t really difficult to understand. I’ve written about confirmation bias before, but in case you missed it, I’ll briefly explain.
Basically, confirmation bias is our human tendency to subconsciously search for evidence that supports our stories and ignore or not even be able to see evidence to the contrary.
So, it’s no surprise that most of the conversations on social media and on the news seem to be going nowhere meaningful, just spinning in place. As a matter of fact, we seem to be having the same conversations in this country that we were having 50 years ago about racial equality and justice.
And, if I am right here, that most people are inherently good and are coming from an honorable place, but get stuck in their old belief patterns and stories, then what needs to change?
Well, when I think about the mindset work I do with my coaching clients and apply it here, this is what I know.
We must stop talking at each other and start listening to each other more. We must truly listen with an open mind and conscious intent to explore new ideas, rather than continuing to defend our long-held beliefs and stories.
And we must make the compassionate assumption that most people have noble core values, but they just may express them differently than we do. We must be willing to be curious rather than judgmental, and open to seeing their beauty.
I understand this may sound simplistic, but I also understand that our mind tends to make things more complicated than they need to be. This is one way our primal brain keeps us “safely” stuck in our comfort zone, rather than embracing change.
But it’s not comfortable here anymore, is it?
My good friend, Holistic Healer Traci Wagner, recently posted on social media:
2020 has been about bringing the world together. I can’t help but feel the tremendous transformation in progress. It’s messy, but it’s happening.
I love Traci’s perspective.
Let’s do this together, with thoughtfulness and love.
And if there is something you want me to hear, please message me.