I volunteered recently in London for three days with the homelessness charity Crisis, as a befriender.
This was at one of their non-overnight centres, where about 70% of those coming in for services (food, dentistry, clothes, optician, advice, I.T., massage etc.) were living alone and over and above these services, they came in for the company and conversation.
My main role was to be in the cafeteria area and, without any assumptions, connect with the guests and simply have a conversation, if they wished to do so.
I found again that as we create an environment or conversation where people feel safe – the 'spirit' becomes one of selflessness; connecting as one, equal and fair, whether it be at Crisis or in fact home, work, church or any organisation.
The phrase that I reflect on repeatedly – 'show weakness to gain strength' - was demonstrated time and again and I found that when those who have the power or control to lead the way by showing their humility, their imperfections and thus their desire to emphasise their humanity – that this is truly THE key to creating a safe space for people to show their own true self and their desire to share the fact that only together as one humanity, will we connect and achieve.
The opposite situation, where people seek power and control to cover their own personal or organisational insecurity creates a culture of fear and insecurity which results in a move towards selfishness. (often bankers, politicians, bosses, insecure bullies et al)
This is also reflected in the animal world as I noticed in the Gorillas & Me programme presently running, where the cameraman and others have had to show their weakness (look down and away) to enable a true bond to be created with the big 'boss' Silverback.
Crisis is there due to people being alienated by our society and its lack of compassion and our selfish ME and materialistic culture.
Oh... did I mention that our guests say they are so alone... because society in general abuses them and treats them like lepers? Probably due to their own insecurities and fears through not being able to show themselves.
Who can you show your own weaknesses to, this New Year to make it safe for them to reveal their true self and thus create a more fair and sustainable relationship?
A Moodscope member