What happened to us?
We have often heard people talking about "being ourselves" or "just being you..."
Are we ever really ourselves? or
Have we really unlocked, our true selves?
Perhaps, the answer lies within the question, "What happened to us?" This really opens the key to understanding our true selves.
The synergy that can flow both inside and through us to another person, when we are openly talking to them, enables us to walk into a place where we can bring our true selves to our relationships, with our parents, partner, friends or colleagues.
In answering the question, "What happened to us?", we need to think about trauma and what we mean by it. An emerging definition begins to moot the idea that there are three elements to trauma:
What we know from research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is that many people who experience it respond in different ways. The evidence shows that those people who experienced a significant trauma, and had had a supportive, loving and emotionally secure childhood, we are far less likely to develop PTSD from the trauma.
What we also know is that those who have experienced trauma have a significantly reduced capacity to be vulnerable, because of the fear, shame and guilt that exists.
People who have experienced a significant trauma respond to situations based on past experiences, according to the event that happened to them and the effect leaves a scar and moulds our behavioural patterns. This can lead to consistent and persistent patterns of behaviour to situations, with:
....essentially we dissociate ourselves from our present.
Dr. Susan David, says, "If you come out from an emotional experience and you don't feel overwhelmed or emotional, it's not called resilience or being courageous. It's called dissociation."
We experience dissociation because of our fear and anxiety of being vulnerable:
Because we don't want to experience hurt again
Because we are protecting ourselves
Because we want to survive...
There is a beautiful story told by, Dr Bruce Perry.
He describes that he used to go and meet children in the hospital and he would offer them a toy, an old one from home and a new one. Every child in the hospital chose the one from home. He then reversed the experiment, and took the two toys to the child’s home and asked the same question. Every time the child took the new toy.
What we learn from this story is, how authentic human relationships play a major role in our lives. The children on the one hand, when away from the home, chose the old toy over a new one, in order to feel connected, belonging, and safe. Whereas; the same children, when at home, chose the new one over the old toy because they were already feeling safe, belonging, connected and loved enough to explore this new toy and be vulnerable.
When we see each other as our authentic selves and allow ourselves to see where we are coming from and what happened to us rather than assuming what's wrong with us, we empower resilience and healing towards each other. This starts to happen when we allow ourselves to be open, vulnerable and authentic and the other person accepts and embraces us with active listening, and compassion, seeing us for who we are...
...because our ability to be curious and to explore the world around us, is almost entirely dependent on how safe we feel, and our capacity to be vulnerable.
And what we know about vulnerability from Brene Brown is that it’s the birthplace of creativity, innovation and change.
Our workplaces are full of imperfect perfect human beings. If we are to create organisational cultures that nurture and support collaboration, cohesion and agility, we need to truly address the needs we have as humans to be both connected and authentic.
This is human governance in action.
(Part 2 of childhood trauma influences governance)