Am I Digging the Divide Deeper ?
I think one of the things horses have taught me is in order to function as part of any 'system', community or herd, I must learn the correct social behavior. Are my social interactions isolating, dividing or driving others away? Or is my behavior such that promotes cohesion, cooperation, and communication?
Some things to consider to enhance communication.
- Am I reading the social cues correctly?
- Am I speaking clearly and coherently?
- Is my body language and tone of voice congruent with my intended message?
- Am I being sensitive to cultural differences?
- Am I using slang or language that can have negative connotations?
Some things to consider to enhance cooperation.
- Am I being respectful?
- Am I aware of my own bias or hidden agenda? How does that affect cooperation?
- Am I working toward an agreed-upon common goal that is beneficial to my 'herd'?
- Is there a power imbalance that is destructive to the group dynamics?
Some things to consider for cohesion.
- Finding common goals or benefits for all.
- Giving credit and dignity to all 'parts' of the group.
- Allow some freedom for each to find their role and fit within the group. Allow some diversity- in thought, action and otherwise. Be open to the process of growth that comes from listening and learning from others.
- Nurture growth in the whole and in each individual.
I have long been interested in conflict resolution. In today's political climate and the changing ways in which people communicate, it is increasingly challenging to find or feel community or cohesion which hinders cooperation to work toward resolution of issues. And we do have some issues that need work. We can all agree on that!
I have to ask myself, am I digging the divide deeper? Do I challenge myself to be open to new ways of understanding and growth? Am I looking for a common ground? Am I showing empathy to someone else's struggle? How can I effect change in MY circle of influence? Am I a positive role model? What behaviors, beliefs, actions do I have that might undermine the health and well-being of others in my community?
I work in the mental health field (my day job) where conflict, pain, and feelings of isolation surround me. One would imagine my work days to be depressing, tense and high intensity but that is not the overriding emotions of my work. I practice (and practice!!) being a calm, supportive, empathetic person in the moment with someone who is quite possibly having the worst day of their life. This feels like an honor on many levels to me. I know the mental health field isn't for everyone but it can be so rewarding to just show kindness and care to someone in need. This is SO powerful. Don't ever underestimate the power of your non-judgemental presence, kindness and genuine care for another.
Thanks for reading and sharing. :) Let's break new ground!
Sue Steiner at Free Rein Art Studio