Welcome to a new Mission1Race year. We like to start our year at the foundation for all we do – Understanding. Understanding is the bedrock. Lack of it can undermine everything else we seek to accomplish. Mountains are moved with an orientation of understanding for the emotions and experiences of others. Without it, walls are erected, inflicting, perhaps, irreparable harm.
We have a little disclaimer at the end of all our posts stating that the content we’re discussing does not address issues of abuse and is not necessarily applicable recommendation for such situations. In emotionally, physically, sexually, and/or spiritually abusive situations, many times the encouragement to “be understanding” turns into an enablement of the oppressor and continued victimization of the already wounded. Instead of turning a blind eye to details we’d rather not see, to be truly and appropriately understanding, we must have an eye for the truth of what is really going on. Sometimes we must be willing to see the harm that a much-loved pastor, community member, or friend is committing to be able to truly understand what the victim of abuse is experiencing. With an orientation of true understanding, mountains of abuse are removed, or the victim from the situation.
In the abuse categories above (emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual), I did not mention a very important category – systemic discrimination. Too often those differently-abled, individuals of color, LGTBQIA+ persons, many women, etc., are subject to a kind of abuse that receives the “be understanding” message. This not only perpetuates the harm, but also revictimizes. “They didn’t mean to sexualize, it’s just their way. Just let it roll off your shoulders.” “Don’t walk like that, and you won’t look so threatening.” “The aisles just aren’t wide enough for your chair.” “We only use pictures of heterosexual couples.”
Each of the preceding statements asks the victim to calm down, back off, and hush up, begging the one that has experienced the harm to, once again, “be understanding.” What if we asked for greater understanding? What if we let the victim rest and breath for a minute? What if we try to understand what the victim might be feeling? What if we begin to move mountains by flipping the conversation? What if we approached this conversation with an orientation of understanding towards the one harmed?
Mountains of division are moved by seeking true understanding of the impact one has experienced. We have a choice – We can humble ourselves to learn and see from a new perspective, the perspective of the one harmed; we can gain understanding. Or we can continue in our trajectory, building greater and, perhaps, irreparable harm and damage. Everyone can make that choice, to listen and learn a new perspective. They can better hear and understand another’s experience, though it may be different from anything previously understood. Understanding - feeling something new for the other.
Photo Credit: Children Nature Network, https://nappy.co/childrennaturenetwork
We are aware of the magnitude of this subject matter and the inadequate brevity of this post. For more, please reference our podcasts, our 1Community groups, or feel free to email us at Uniquelythesame@mission1race.org.
We also wish to address our inability to consider issues of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse in our discussions on developing understanding and oneness. If you are in an abusive situation of any kind, we encourage you to seek professional and other help; and to realize that this content does not necessarily apply to your circumstances.