Updated: Jul 11, 2019
With the federal election last month, I got to thinking about “choice”. We take it for granted, until it disappears, and in it’s place we find ourselves “caught between a rock and a hard place”. That can be said for a political situation, or any time in our personal or professional life.
I’ve recently found myself with choice, while those around me are without. It seemed to start with some friends who had lost their place of residence (rentals) through no fault of their own. Nice, easy-going people who were kind and compassionate, who suddenly had nowhere else to go. Both parents, flying solo. You can see, that their options were limited; but if I told you their whole stories, you’d wonder how they managed to keep on going.
I found some other people, who were on the long road to recovery from near-death illnesses – the kind of illnesses that we all take for granted. Again, I can’t tell you all the details, but I was left flummoxed as to how these people kept on going.
I have other friends who deal with agonising pain each day and night of their lives.
As someone who has an education in psychology and has worked in research into severe mental illness, I can tell you that the word “resilience” gets bandied about a lot. But these people that I have just described – they make me think of Extreme Resilience.
In fact, Extreme Resilience is their SuperPower.
The way that I was raised, was to say a prayer for someone if I heard they were having a tough time, but to also do what I could to help out.
But, what do you do when you’re the person with a choice that could impact on the wellbeing (or otherwise) of another? I want to tell you a story, that is probably the most common story known to humanity. And at the end of it, I want you to ask yourself how you can change the entire world by changing something in your own world.
Once upon a time, there was a young woman. She met a guy around her own age, and he swept her off her feet. He was magnetic. When he spoke, he ignited a passion in her that she couldn’t resist. When he touched her skin, his fingers were electric. His eyes locked onto hers, and she was flummery*. He had power over her. Her body was his dominion. She fell in love with him, or at least that’s what she thought. In one passionate embrace, she found herself pregnant.
I would have to say, that every woman who is reading this story, will recognise it as her own (just about). When I say, “young woman”, I could mean “girl” or even recently separated or widowed woman. The age really doesn’t matter. What matters, is the choice. Often, we don’t have a choice. Often, we are forced into a situation (either through love or power), and we have no choice. Sometimes, women might rape a man (though rare, it does happen), but overwhelmingly, it is men and boys who leave women and girls pregnant and alone.
I want to let that sit with you for a bit.
Not everyone wants to terminate a baby in these circumstances, and should not be judged for that. Not everyone who tries to terminate, in these situations, succeeds. Nor should they be judged. And, those who do terminate, well, as much as I was raised with a “Right-to-Life” approach, I can’t judge them either, because I understand the impact that an unexpected pregnancy can have on a person. Pregnancy is such a complex situation for a girl or woman to be in, and it becomes a life-long series of choices. Now, I’m not advocating one over the other: I am just saying, every action has a consequence, and being judgemental really makes the experience worse.
Here is another story. A woman has reached a great milestone in her career, but is lonely for love. She starts dating a guy, and they go out to movies and dinner, but he doesn’t make a move on her. Months pass, but nothing beyond a chaste kiss good-night when he takes her home. One night, in her frustration, she puts the moves on him, and during the night he disappears. For good. Two weeks pass, and there it is: the unmistakable sign that she needs to buy a pregnancy test kit. She’s terrified, because if she is pregnant, she has to tell her parents. She would die of embarrassment and shame. She can’t bear the prospect, and so she prays each night “Please God, help me not to be pregnant”. Be careful what you wish for, the old cliché says, because you will get it. She grieves for the child that miscarries in the nights that follow, with no-one to comfort her.
Again, it was about choice. Now, life is a complex thing for all of us. But, I just wish that we could learn discernment earlier in our lives, especially about what is (and is not) respectful communication and behaviour, particularly when it comes to romantic intimacy. And – I’m not just talking about how we relate to others, but how we see ourselves.
Sometimes, we get intimate with someone because we’re head over heels in love. Sometimes, we’re in lust. And other times, well, we’re feeling desperate in our loneliness.
I realise that this might not seem a very “business” related topic, but if you work in insurance, law, human resources and mediation, you will be well-aware that it is!!
What causes people to sexually harass colleagues? And the flip-side, how do you know if a colleague reciprocates your feelings?
It’s messed with my head, because I’ve worked with colleagues who are married to each other, and I’ve also been sexually harassed by a colleague (who was a high-ranking boss). Now, my little story does not compare with many others (in which victims were constantly harassed, belittled or raped). My little story was just a sleazy boss running his finger along the back seam-line of my skirt, in front of one of my staff. I immediately turned to him and told him quite clearly (and respectfully) that this behaviour was inappropriate, and he should be ashamed of himself. My staff-member was very impressed! My boss … sheepish! Thankfully, this was a long time ago, but I learned from an early age to stand up for myself and others. I’d like to encourage you to, as well.
So, how you can change the entire world by changing something in your own world?
The answer? Give me a call or drop me a line. We'll work it out together.
*What is flummery? A yummy dessert that my Aunty Ces used to make. Here’s a recipe: https://www.aeroplanejelly.com.au/recipes/lite/raspberry-flummery