The world is full of multiple perspectives. It fascinates me to try and understand how the world looks to other people. Even in our own homes, everyone has their own special lens through which they see the world. Ultimately, it’s my own perspective that filters my view. This is the same for all of us.
We are all the centers of our own universe.
I am a white woman. And I’ll warn you now that everything I think about somehow relates to gender. Beliefs about gender, stereotypes, expectations, and hierarchies. It’s my lens. I know it’s not the only lens. But it’s the lens through which I understand the world, it’s people, and why we all make the choices we do.
Hear me out. Before you judge.
My life has been a privileged life. I recognize this, and want to be part of the shift toward true equality. Through all of the protests and conversations about race, I’ve tried to unpack why nothing changes. Or if it does it’s ever so slowly. Hundreds of years, incremental change, but nothing substantial enough to truly shift the tide of power and injustice.
I coach moms. A large part of what I do with clients focuses on seeing how existing social structures – and the beliefs that go with those structures – makes their lives difficult. Gender plays a big role, but so do many layers of life that color our perspectives. I help moms discover which layers they can shed to get focus on what truly matters to them. At its center, our work as humans is to cut through the ‘should’ bullshit of what society tells us is ok or not, and truly embrace our own unique power and grace. To stand up for what we really desire and believe.
What does this have to do with race? Everything.
First, when each person truly values their own messy self, there’s a connection created with other humans that acknowledges that we’re all doing the best we can on this journey of love and learning. When you get down to the essence of who you are, and truly value that, there’s less of a need to be exclusive or ‘other-ize’ different groups. When you are confident in your value, when you are safe in the world, there’s no need to make yourself better than anyone else.
The key is safety.
Safety to speak up for yourself, to value your difference (we all have ways we’re different), and to show up for what you believe in. And least of all to feel physically and mentally safe in the world.
Internal work is difficult. It will require you doing things differently, possibly in every area of life, but it will benefit you, your family, and society at large. Change is difficult even if for the better. When we do our internal work, it also gives us a better understanding of what larger structural changes need to happen for everyone to feel safe and valued in our society. (Because looking into ourselves requires that we become aware of how these structures and systems have impacted our choices, beliefs, and personalities, and this helps us empathize.) This understanding is what we want for our children. If you’ve read this long, then I’m sure you want this for all individuals as well. Color, gender identity, ability, age, everything.
Our individual hearts are only one part of the solution. But it’s where we can start right now.
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