Thursday, 8 March 2012

A bit of a rant.

Life is such a tough call. We assume other people are sailing through their lives without any of the stuff we have to put up with. Of course it's all relative and my current bad back is another persons disintegrating discs. I was complaining about my sciatica to my client who finds it difficult walking because of the state of her spine. And as she pointed out, as she quoted me back to me....Each persons issues are there own! Hoisted by own petard,when I felt guilty about moaning to her!

We make assumptions all the time about people, even before they open their mouths sometimes. How they are dressed, what their hair looks like, what their age is, skin colour, sexual orientation. We don't necessarily check out what people have told us about themselves we just relate to them based on our feelings about them ( for those who like to know this is the Freudian concept of transference)

The problem of doing this is that when we relate to people based purely on our judgement call we don't really meet them to know them. We meet them thinking we know how they are, what they feel, who they are. And this does such a disservice to others.

I am constantly reminded of this in my work. A new client comes in, I will  not have read the referral letter, as that is someone else's judgement call. I will because I'm human make an instant appraisal of that person, do I like the look of them, will we be able to work together. All these thoughts go through my head instantly even before the client has spoken. As they do through everyone's head whenever we meet new people.

But then I have to stop that routine human reaction as I have to listen to the client, and find out who they are, and what they are bringing to therapy. It takes a long time to be able to learn to do this and there are times even know when I don't succeed immediately. But I do my best, and I think I can say hand on heart that by the time the first session has finished I have heard them and not imposed my views in my mind about who they are.

I always have to work with what people tell me about themselves, so if a client come in telling me that she is a wood elf then that is what we have to work with It is not for me tell her she's not. I may of course not believe her. But within the session I have to suspend my credulity and work with the clients beliefs. Otherwise how is anyone going to trust me.

So the question is can we break the habit of doing this to people we meet? What do we need to do to allow the person to be who they are, rather than who we think they are? It's not easy, but really it must be done if we as human beings are going to break our unconscious prejudices that make us judge others without checking out who they really are.

If society in any country is going to survive then we have to open our minds to who the people really are around us. Not every foreigner is .... Not every person of colour is.... Not every old person is.... Not everyone hoodie wearing youth is.... etc,etc The list of assumptions made by anyone of us, about anyone of us is at best wrong and at worst destructive.

The world is a dangerous place full of threat and fear,or is it? If we open our minds to meet others without are own labeling being used first, could we as the world's society get on better. Would there be less misunderstanding, less fighting, more peace, more hope of everyone having a right to be who they are and to be heard as such.

Of course if that happens there will always be extremists who believe their views are more right than others. But isn't it time that the majority of us the 'normal' people had a voice about living in tolerance, kindness and peace with our fellow human?

We have a right to be heard, we have a right to believe that we should live in a democracy where our voice is as important as the next humans. What right some people in this world take to think it is okay to kill their fellow human because they are terrified of loosing power or wealth is an absolute disgrace.

I, as an individual may have no real power in the world, but if we who think that what is happening in Syria and many other countries is frightful then we need to speak out, then our voices will gather power.By using this medium to say how I feel I believe the word gathers strength. And although I'm not manning the barricades so to speak. I am angry that people around the world are being denied their voice by others. I may not agree with another's view, but I believe they have as much right as I to state their case.


LindyLouMac in Italy said...

A somewhat appropriate rant, I know you refer to men and women, but considering it is International Women's Day!

Fire Byrd said...

Changed to humans now!

Merry ME said...

A good rant, my friend. Well said. You can't judge a book by it's cover and walk a mile in her shoes, kind of rant. Putting our judgement aside is not an easy thing to do. I hope I remember this the next time I meet a wood elf.

Lyn said...

Bravo! Well said. We each have our voices and the freedom to express and when we joing in unison for good, we become more powerful and we are heard. Love what you said about judgement ... what a world we could have if we just respected a person's right to "be" without judgement or prejudica. I've missed you.

GaynorB said...

I agree absolutely with your sentiments in this post.
Whenever a young person comes into my classroom I have to be careful not to prejudge on the basis of some data or some anecdotal information someone has said to me.

At home, when doing a big job we often say that it is really only a lot of little jobs. I guess it is the same with protest. A large impact can be hade by hundreds, thousands or even millions making their voices heard.

Sorrow said...

You have not ranted at all love, just sussed out a great deal of what so many of us feel~!

Angela said...

I agree with every word you say! Keep on speaking up, Mandy. You ARE being heard.
I also believe in this tapestry that we are all weaving together. Each one is important and must be respected. Good post!

Carol said...

This is a really timely post for me! I've just spent the last few days trying to produce images that match my frustration and helplesness at what's going on in the world. I have been drawing mouths and sewing them shut in a bid to express how I'm feeling. (If your interested go have a look...I'm still working on them.

I agree with you on the judgements people make too. I had never really thought about it till I started looking at long-term health conditions for Work/Uni and I read the work of Erving Goffman on Stigma. It opened my eyes and now I am try not to let those initial assessments cloud my judgement.

C x

karen said...

Hi Mandy
Good rant, indeed! I am glad to have your reminders along life's way... I really actually felt you had written your post about anxiety, and mindfulness specially for me lately! I will try to remember what you said - it is all very true!

Hope you are keeping well and happy!

megabitbyte said...

What a thoughtful post! It seems as though we insist on painting something of ourselves on other people with judgments and assumptions. Projection of feelings and beliefs could be seen as something more extreme. I had not thought of this before, but it seems as though boundaries are muddied just a bit when we relate to others based on our judgments. You have given me some points to ponder. Thanks! Take care!

BelovedBomber said...

Choosing mercy over judgment and allowing people the grace to be themselves. Interesting concept :)

Pam said...

I'm a great people-watcher Mandy, so I guess I am making judgements all the time using visual clues. Can't help myself! No doubt most times I'm way off the mark. Enjoyed your post!