“When people start talking about privilege, they get paralyzed by shame.”
— Brené Brown
Usually when the shit hits the fan we go into one of two states. Either we start dissecting what lead us to that point in order to ensure that it never happens again or we start wallowing in self pity.
You can probably guess which one of these is a more productive use of our time. Sure, we need to grieve. At the same time we can’t get stuck there, we need to go through that process and move on.
Once we’ve done the autopsy I find that there are two other camps we need to deal with.
Those who believe that things like there is very limited agency and those who believe that we have unlimited agency.
Both of these can be very harmful points of view. Whether they’re expressed by you or the people around you.
Let’s say that poor choices have lead your company into the red, you’re sent to the principals office or you’ve broken your leg.
The 2 extreme views are:
- There’s nothing you can do about your broken leg.
- You can heal yourself if you just want it bad enough.
The truth is somewhere in the middle of these. You could and should seek medical advice, eat properly and get enough sleep. Set your body up for the best possible shot at repairing itself.
Don’t get me wrong, being upbeat and positive is highly beneficial. However, being overly optimistic and believing that your leg is going to be in perfect shape when you wake up the next day?
Ye, that’s highly unlikely.
When we have people around us who say stuff like, “Well, there’s nothing you can do about it” or “Do you really want to be healthy?” we should see it as a red flag that they’re probably not going to be of much use.
Often they’re in a position of privilege, a position they don’t necessarily see themselves having. Thank them for sharing their profound insights and quickly move on to something that’s acutally productive.
Usually what’s happening is that they can’t or don’t want to deal with the reality of your situation so they’re trying to reaffirm their own point of view and placing their values and beliefs on your situation.
If you feel judged it’s only because your situation seems like a threat to their beliefs. They want to fix it so that they can continue to believe what they believe.
Just realize that it’s about them, not about you.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!