Me & You (More Than Meets the Eye)
I read an article posted to facebook by a friend of mine this morning called, "Laziness Does Not Exist, But Unseen Barriers Do". The author makes many good points that I can relate to both personally and professionally. Usually, there is more to the story if we care enough to lay down the gavel and listen.
The author, a professor, writes about her experience with teaching students who struggle and her journey in learning more about why this is. She argues against rigid academic boundaries and shares success stories about a student who was misunderstood.
I know what it's like to misunderstood.
I was one of "these" students the author writes about. The experience of this educator reminds me of a fundamental concept in 12-step literature which I have written about before. Page 417 of the Big Book state's, "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation-some fact of my life-unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment."
I was once labeled with a disability by a professor due to my visual style of learning and thinking. Here is a blog I wrote about it a few weeks ago. Persistence: https://theselfdiscoveryplace.com/…/youll-never-pass-my-cla…
I like when the author writes, "It’s really helpful to respond to a person’s ineffective behavior with curiosity rather than judgment." I try to do this by saying "help me understand..." when I feel confused by someone else. Nine times out of ten, there's a legitimate contextual explanation from their perspective.
To be honest in what I have come to believe in working with many problem situations (addiction, homelessness, suicidal ideation, depression, failing marriages, etc.), personal responsibility (agency) has a role in addition to situational factors. Personal agency is often the energizing force to persist, and perhaps overcome the tyranny of constraints, whatever form they may take (i.e.biological, social, psychological) .
Personal agency may be limited to the hopes, dreams, goals, faith, and willingness to fight one more day by showing up to class, but that's more powerful than many believe! It's like the flame that fuels the fight against all odds and ends up changing the world. It's the story of our greatest heroes. It provides meaning on the darkest of days.
It's not either-or. It's both-and. It's me and it's you. There's always more to the story.
But sometimes there is the question of blame when bad things happen. Do I blame the individual or the system? It helps me to think of them as two sides of the same coin. Whichever side you present in an "exchange" is embraced because it highlights the obvious. Without seeing the other side, it's not uncommon to wonder if we have been cheated with a fake.
*please forgive the grammar, I had situational constraints ;)
Robert A Dunn, MMFT