In my early teens, my older sister and I left our home in Guyana, South America and our parents to live with a spinster aunt in England. Civic unrest and a better future led to the agonising decision of my parents to send their only 2 children to live in a distant land.
I left behind a colonial house, open spaces, sunshine and warmth to live in a terraced house in Essex! The contrast was profound and the culture change challenging.
The year I turned 18, I left, found a job and started studying at the same time. With no family (fell out with the aunt and didn’t really get on with my sister) I needed to become financially, emotionally and psychologically independent. To cope, I became resilient, self sufficient, in control, showed no signs of vulnerability and believed that asking for help was a sign of weakness.
I climbed the career ladder, got married and my eldest child was born prematurely by emergency caesarean section and spent several weeks in intensive care. I discharge myself against medical advice 48 hours later to continue ‘as normal’. During the first few years of her life she was constantly ill and I soldiered on with work and home. By the time my second child was born and my eldest had started school, I had a good network of friends.
Soon after, I became acutely ill, had life saving surgery and was hospitalised for several weeks. For a period of that time, I couldn’t do anything for myself and was totally dependent. The emotions that I experienced were far more traumatic than the surgery: helplessness, despair, hopelessness, loss of self, trapped…. Out of those dark moments, as I sought for some rationale, Viktor Frankl’s, Man’s Search for Meaning seemed pertinent- the last of the human freedom: the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances. That was a defining moment for me and resulting in 2 changes:
- The reframing of ‘why me’ to the ‘why not me’. I am not special and have coped and will cope with whatever life throws at me
- The significance and value of connectedness
I realised that it is our relationships with other people which form a network that supports us, make our lives meaningful, and ultimately enable us to survive. I recognised that perhaps I have been too focused on myself and those immediately around me. I had not been ‘giving’, haven’t made much of a difference and have many strengths which were not fully utilised. Since then, I have tried to incorporate things that will help me to become more connected, such as:
- Being clear on purpose
- Investing time and energy in building relationships from all sections of my life
- Helping people to connect with each other
- Being mindful
- Not being afraid to ask for help
- Giving without seeking to get something back
- Creating, co-creating and making things happen
- Listening and speaking from the heart
The interconnections between our world, nature, people, societies, communities… create conditions where tiny changes, can often lead to widely differing effects elsewhere. To harmonise this interconnectedness, we need to reduce our narcissistic tendencies and self interest and replace with building relationships and bridges between divides and disconnects, to be more transparent and open in our processes and in understanding and expanding our worldviews. How good would it be if we all had a shared worldview?
Technology and digital media has made it easier for us to be become globally connected and to build relationships with each other. These can be at many levels – within and outside your profession, industry sector, other sectors, community, regional, national, global…
Twitter has enabled me to meet new people and discover other people’s world view and perspectives. I have been able to engage in conversations with people that would not have been possible before. It is here that I connected with Sukh and members of the Human Resources and Learning and Development community. Sukh asked for some help in raising awareness of his Positive Psychology in Application event on the 17th August. I use this in my work as a coach and for all the reasons outlined above would like to give some support in getting his message out there.
If you are reading this and feel a sense of connection, curiosity, would like to meet some new people, expand your worldview …why not go along…there are 2 tickets available for free…who knows what you might learn, who you might meet and what relationships might be formed ?
How are you expanding your worldview? What strategies do you use for developing connectedness?
Have you experienced any defining moments in your life?
Share your worldview, request a ticket, make a comment…..go on
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