There are no bad people, only bad systems frustrating good people from doing good work.
In 25 years of supporting individuals and organizations to move from Now to WOW in their growth and development, the default reaction of blaming another person or chasing the perceived “people problem” has at best created short-term superficial improvements in happiness and performance. In my own personal experience, whenever I point the finger of blame, whether at an individual or a collective of people, the typical reaction is defensiveness and counter-attack. In other words, what was once a growth opportunity became a battlefield.
We all know that nurturing a battlefield is about nurturing the status quo. The status quo, childish as this seems, has favoured shirking pain rather than sharing responsibility for a conflict. The habit of focusing on others and holding them at fault is deeply engrained in our collective business and national psyche.
The questions we must ask ourselves nationally are very simple. How do we
as a country move to heal the trauma that drives the misery of many native
communities? What can be done to undo the dynamics our past has dictated?
Some may balk at such inquiry, fearing the discomfort that comes with guilt.
However, this is not a matter of communal guilt, but of communal responsibility.
It is not about the past. It is about the present. And it is about all of us: When
some among us suffer, ultimately we all do. Gabor Mate
For my part I have discovered that the only real and sustainable change in individuals, organizations or nations is when our ways of being in the world (beliefs and habits, operating systems and processes, structures) are aligned with emerging demands from our internal and external experiences (i.e., listening to our pain). In order to get our attention, an emerging demand typically registers as some form of pain.
In people or organizations or nations, pain is blocked energy. What needs to pass through is unable. Pain is holding on to the past. What needs to be forgiven and released is stuck in anger and resentment. Pain is a messenger telling us to open up and find its cause. What needs to be changed is crying out for attention. Pain is the voice calling for our awareness whether it has the shape of a blue mood, a cold sore, a headache, a union strike, a decline in revenue or a national crisis. Finally, it is important to remember that pain is the symptom not the source of whatever dis-ease is ailing us.
On a personal note, befriending the aches and pains in our body and mind allows us to listen for clues leading to their source. When we focus on their source, we are transforming causal agents to reflect what better serves us. This action aligns us with our soul’s calling (our authentic self) and we feel “at one” with our inner being. I prefer to say we are “as one” because not only are we aligned internally but also with those life forces fuelling us from outside our being.
When we are as one we discover we are not alone or lonely, and herein lies peace. The added benefit of inner peace is its attractiveness to others. In fact, it acts as a magnet drawing those to us who wish the same for themselves. Thus, when we take responsibility for our pain, seek out its source from within and transform ourselves, our growth transforms those around us as well. Indeed, everyone and everything is connected.
What pain are you feeling today? Without blaming others or shaming yourself, what is the internal source of your pain?
For more on finding the source of your pain and transforming yourself, click here.
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