Isolation and Shame

When we feel
isolated,
we can also feel
lost.

We think
‘After all,
if I’m the only one
on this path,
who‘s to say
I’m not lost?’

When we feel
lost
traveling a path
of our own choice
we can also feel
ashamed.

We think
‘If I got lost
by going my way
then clearly
it’s my fault
and something
is wrong
with me.

To be Human

The Chinese character
for a human being (人)
are two strokes
supporting
one another.

What if
it is difficult
to be human
without support?

What if
our blaming of others
for behaving less than human
only isolates them
further,
making it even harder
for them
to be human?

What if…?

Preemptive Blaming

“They’re going to be quick
to blame me.”
said the founder,
worrying
of the employees’ backlash.

“How would it be different,
if you were quicker?”
I asked.

“What do you mean?”
he asked.

“How would it be different,
if you were even quicker
than them?”
I asked again,
with emphasis.

“Quicker?”
he asked.

“…”
I sat there,
silent.

“You mean if I were to blame myself
before they did?”

“…”
I waited.

Silence ensued.

“… You’re talking about
taking responsibility.”
The reply came back,
eventually.

Being Strong

At our first session,
she would habitually use the word “strong”
to refer to herself.

“To be strong,”
she said,
“I should
Stop worrying and,
instead,
Focus on problem solving.
I should
Stop blaming my employees and,
instead,
Blame myself,
the CEO.”

On the surface,
these sounded wonderful,
virtuous, even.

But after a month
of realizing empathy with herself,
she discovered
that by “strong”
all she meant
was “numb to pain & discomfort.”

There’s a world of difference
between following advice
and realizing for one’s self
by leading through a journey of innovation.

A journey
through which we learn new
or unexpected choices.

Without the journey,
“stop worrying,”
can merely mean “repress stress & anxiety.”

“Focus on problem solving,”
can merely mean “focus on eliminating fear & concern.”

“Blame myself,”
can merely mean “lead with unconscious shame.”

To frame this phenomena
as someone’s “fault”
prevents a deeper exploration.

More valuable
would be to recognize what happens naturally
when we lack
a sense of choice
or proper support.