Sunday 1-19-14 – Five Freedoms

The Five Freedoms by Virginia Satir:
The FREEDOM to see and hear what is here, instead of what should be, was, or will be.
The FREEDOM to say what you feel and think, instead of what you should.
The FREEDOM to feel what you feel, instead of what you ought.
The FREEDOM to ask for what you want, instead of always waiting for permission.
The FREEDOM to take risks in your own behalf, instead of choosing to be only “secure” and not rocking the boat.

Happy Sunday!

Peter shared the 5 Freedoms, listed above, with me on Monday morning; I carried a printed copy to work with me and they have pulled back to my attention back to them each day this week so I knew that I had to spend some time today thinking about why they seem to trigger an important reaction in me.
I first took them to work with me as they seemed to address a question I had been asking myself about balancing friendship and working relationships. Several incidents have been occurring at work where I have had to consider my role as supervisor against my role as friend. I have been trained as a manager to remain detached from personal information and conversations at work. My role as manager requires that at times I need to be objective and focused on just the tasks of the job. I can now recognize that in my manager role there is a lot of judgement happening, on-going thoughts of how people should be behaving at work.
Through my experience over the last few years into the culture of the office, as well as training about equal employment opportunities and discrimination in the workplace, I have a whole arsenal of ‘should’s that I think people should stick to in their working roles. When I read the 5 Freedoms I immediately felt that they described a transition; that younger people joining the workforce will be expectant of the freedoms described. I find young people say what they want and feel, this is different than the past. I can see that the phrase ‘keep your nose to the grindstone’ held true as how we were supposed to behave but with it came workers who would sneak to take advantage of the situation or just be disgruntled and unproductive. Workers would try to adhere to the unspoken ‘should’s of the workplace but they would not be happy from never being able to express their ideas or point of view.
When I was a new worker I hated it when I was told “it’s how we always do it”. And as much as I hated that sentiment I hated it more when things went wrong and being told “don’t do it like that again”. Well I wasn’t permitted to express myself relative to the procedure but I was responsible now for the mistake, not understanding why the process was undertaken the way it was. And just to gripe a bit more, the culture never allowed for the opportunity to explain or defend oneself.
I think a new culture is coming to the workplace with this new generation of workers. This generation is able to grow as so many roles have been stripped from the culture. Gone are most gender roles, racial roles, and cultural roles – to think that office roles like boss and ‘pee-on’ will hold any weight for this generation would be naive.
How do you keep good, quality employees if you suppress their ingenuity and creativity?
Creativity comes from the spirit and that is what I want to promote in the World so somehow I must be supportive of a transition in the work environment to allow people to express themselves and be themselves.
So how do I change?
There are so many fears in the work environment that it feels like a tight rope must be walked between communicating openly and many fears such as: upsetting someone triggering a EEO complaint, fear of complaints of not treating everyone fairly, fear of employees taking advantage of friendship, fear of repercussions for myself from management about making changes to old practices.
I am not sure other than to have Faith, to use the tools I have learned, and ask for help from the Holy Spirit.
The workplace is important in that it is a place that I interact with others and can be of service but it is not as important as my home life. At home are the special relationships that make the most impact on my growth, these relationships reflecting back to me the lessons that I am here to learn.
Now I am ready to go deeper.
I took the bigger plunge this morning to contemplate how the 5 Freedoms relate to my personal relationships as wife and mother.
In the first moment I read the freedoms, before my mind went to their application at work, I thought that Peter giving them to me was about his understanding what I had been trying to request for myself for a very long time. This morning I asked him why he gave them to me. His answer surprised me. He said that they were what he wanted in our relationship for himself.
So now I have to ask myself why my perspective was just about me when it came to my special relationships? Why at home were my thoughts on just what I was getting and not also on what I was giving?
At work my role is one that I have had for less than 10 years and one I had to learn, and from people that I question the methods that they have passed down. At home my roles are wife and mother; roles that I have lived my life being shown mainly by the people I have most cared for in my life.
Iyanla Vanzant always speaks of family pathology, traits that have passed down from more generations than we can even remember. So yes I can acknowledge that my mind and ego do quickly turn to expectations of how I should be treating my loved ones, or them me, based on these roles that are part of my psyche.
How do I overcome these powerful influences that have set my expectations for so long so that I can overcome the ‘should’s and ‘ought to’s and allow my loved ones have the freedom to express themselves?
Do I even want to change the roles of past?
Yes, that is an easy answer as I know that I can only receive for my own spirit what I give to others.
So how do I break the pathology?
I need to question the roles that I am playing. Am I acting from compassion or just doing what my ego expects based on my role?
I will need to stay aware and I ask for your help Lord. I know I will need to be alert to be aware of when I am restricting those I love with my expectations. Like in all choices, I will need to choose Love over fear so I ask for assistance in seeing the differences and being bold enough to leave my comfort zone and challenge the fear.
Help me Lord remember to ask for your aid in seeing the situation differently.
OK Lord, I am going to take action to do my best and make a change for the better.
Thank you.

“I want to love you without clutching,
Appreciate you without judging,
Join you without invading,
Invite you without demanding,
Leave you without guilt,
Criticize you without blaming,
And help you without insulting.
If I can have the same from you,
Then we can truly meet each other.”
~ Virginia Satir


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