10 May 2019  |  Cat Vizor

“How can we, as individuals, make a positive difference to the world in which we live?”. This question was asked by one of my friends in the lecture today. My hand shot up, twitching with my response as I wanted to share my understanding of what Pata, our lecturer, had said earlier that had resonated in me. It’s turning “Hey You” in to “what’s going on here?” – that switch of mind-set which can remove barriers and transform authority, power and judgement, into a request for understanding.

I related this to ESTEEM and the way we try to keep this enquiry approach with young adults, and within our general ethos. To do this genuinely, it takes being mindful, not reacting immediately or emotionally, and asking “what is going on right now for the other person?”. It’s easy to jump to conclusions, to assume you know what’s going on, or not think about it and just continue the normal course of action.

Stopping to find out why someone is upset, or angry, or doing something that challenges you or the status quo, can really make a difference, not only to their well-being but also to your own. Understanding what causes people to act takes time; sometimes it isn’t possible to find out right there and then. We are complicated beings, there will be many factors which contribute to how a person behaves.

When you stop to take an interest, it can enable you to switch from reacting to that behaviour, to being able to observe it more objectively. This can help you achieve calm, and be better placed to respond with kindness. For the other person, your interest in what is happening can enable them to feel heard and valued.

In the lecture today, we discussed ‘living the change you want to see’ and how this is so important to making positive change. Open communication that’s truthful, helpful and kind is surely how we want to relate with one another? We can’t always get it right, but keeping this in mind will help us develop ourselves, our community and the world we live in.