Solutions to our problems?

July 10th, 2018 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

In light of the recent events, I am going to get a little personal.  A friend once shared on FB that she came across a quote by Richard Rohr, “we are all part of the problem”.  I agree.

People are key to our solutions, especially those different from “us”

We are all part of the problem.

Our world has lots of problems: global warming, war, racism, refugees galore, and economic crises to name a few big ones.  Just read the morning newspaper and we see the mess we have got ourselves into.

It is easy to blame someone or some “thing” else: the government, the other country’s government, that other political party, “those people”, whoever might be.

“It’s not my fault!” is one of the first phrases we learn to say as a child.

But as a parent I know that it really takes more than one party to cause a fight, and that a problem is usually very different from the other person’s viewpoint.

Our problems are very complex, and the systems that cause the problems are also complex.

We can be part of the problem by inaction, complicity, by action or by collusion.

When I am honest with myself I hopefully can see how I could possibly be part of the problem.

But it is hard to get past my own self-defense mechanisms on my own.  This kind of learning only happens if we are willing to subject ourselves to some tough reflection.  Because of this, it is in community that I, that we are most able find out our blind spots and can see where we are part of the problem and then can grow.  I come from a faith tradition that prays to be forgiven for what we have done andfor what we have left undone.  For me, this is key for solving problems: reflection.

Many people are asked to reflect in their coaching relationship, but of course there are other ways to find a reflecting community.  What more could I have done is a question that is of ultimate importance, one that I try and ask myself daily.

Even in coaching this question, I call it the “what more” question is imperative.  “What can I do?” is good, but “What more can I do?” asked a few times often brings a breakthrough.  Then solutions come, then we are part of the solution.

We need to see the big picture, understand the problem and its complexity

We can be part of the solution, if we try, especially in community.

Self-reflection and integrity are keys to the solution.

In community, looking at ourselves and what we can do more is key.  Let’s do it alone – and but also together.

I personally allow myself to be with someone else or be in a group where I am able to become vulnerable.  Then I can acknowledge that I might possibly be part of the problem we are considering at the moment, and I listen to first of all to myself, but also to others, especiallyto those with whom I might disagree.  Then I try and do one small thing to be a part of the solution.

That listening to othersis also very important for the reflection process.  We often only read and listen to opinions and ideas that corroborate our own thoughts, ideas and opinions.  But if we do this, how are we going to grow?

Thus, integrity is also part of our solution.  I need to check out what “those other people” think, feel, believe, need and their reasoning for their actions with an open mind and heart.

My motivations may be pure, but maybe they are not.

Finally, I need to really check my own motivationsfor my thoughts, actions, and inaction.  How much self-serving is going into what I do and don’t do?  I have a friend who once said that when we point a finger at someone else, we are actually point four fingers back at ourselves.  So, I try to be honest with myself, as much as I am able.

These activities and thoughts may not change the world, but I hope they bring each of us closer together and start a conversation that is healthy and helpful.  Let us remember that “they” are human beings, too.  Let us each do one thing today, tomorrow and the next day for our common good.

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com    patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

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