So now we have the aftermath of the United Kingdom General Election 2015 and being exposed to the diversity of feelings people people are experiencing up and down and across the British Isles I cannot help but think about what Diversity truly means and it's implications in our communities, wider society and within our own family and work life.
I have been on numerous Diversity training days which are usually bolted on to other conceptual training such as Anti-disciminatory Practice, Equality, Oppression and how us and our employers can tick the box that we are now Diversity and Culturally aware ! Easy !
Yet Diveristy is more complex and more challenging and to really understand diversity in practice and to really challenge our own attitudes and beliefs is in itself a lifetimes work.
Our beliefs generate our thinking and our behaviour, and these beliefs are instilled from what we are exposed to - from when we pop into the world.
The family we are raised within, the communities we live in, the churches we are brought up in, or not, the friends we play with, the teachers we learn from, the programmes we watch, the books and magazines we read all have a bit of input into what is right and wrong, our taboos and permissions, our justifications and rationalisations of our and others behaviour.
We have an opinion, we may even believe that our opinion is the only right opinion. Our truth becomes the only truth, that everyone else is wrong and should adopt our opinion - our belief and our truth.
Isn't this what fuels all of the wars in this world since time began ?
We try and manipulate others into adopting our beliefs, sometimes subtle, sometimes forcefully.
We get angry, we sulk, we punish, we may become compliant through coercive control when we fear the heavy hand of those in positions of power who yeild the ability to destroy us - either physically, socially, emotionally, financially.
The spirit of diversity should be of accepting difference - of opinion, of experience, of beliefs without nihilation, punishment, segregation, humiliation.
I hear the angry cries of those who are fearful that the elected politica will punish and annihilate and abuse this power. Personal survival instincts come into play - to fight for what we feel is right.
As a therapist my clients bring these same issues to the counselling room - tensions in the workplace, disharmony in the home, internal conflict where personal beliefs are being compromised, having to comply and adopt attitudes and behaviours which are not their own and which they do not believe in as a way to survive.
The impact on the person is devastating. To endure such environments as part of everyday life eventually takes it's toll and it erodes us mentally, physically and spiritually.
I see people present as 'depressive' 'anxiety disordered' and addicted to all kinds of substances and behaviours as a result of trying to survive in such situations.
Yet what needs to happen is to change what we can - ourself and our relationship to what is going on.
We avoid change as a way of avoiding what we fear will be other emotional, social, financial consequences.
When we make desicions to change and act according to our beliefs there can be consequences - we may lose some people along the way who feel rejected - sometimes they needed to be lost anyhow but still we put our needs for security in the familiar first - and how we suffer.
Codependency is not just about how we operate in our intimate relationships and within our families but also about how we relate to the world in general and my own experience as a therapist and from life has brought me to believe that codependency is a killer - either through addiction and depression or suicide and in the extreme but not uncommon act of homocide.
The solution is to find our autherntic selves and the courage to direct our actions accordingly. This is what causes our internal dilemmas - we have been actors playing the part for so long we may have forgotten who we really are or we may never have truly known who we are and what we believe in the first place.
What a great thing to do - to discover the essence of our being and to develop the courage to face the challenges of becoming authentic.
As we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin we can then start to accept others for who they are and what they believe in, to show compassion empathy and understanding for where others may be on their journey with the acknowledgment that we do not hold the monopoly in having the ability to change.
As a humanitarian I have developed the acceptance of self, to recognise what I believe in and not the set of beliefs I was brought up in without having to force my opinion on others with a disregard for their right to believe in whatever the choose.
My responsibility is to make sure I have my own boundaries in place when the beliefs and actions of others directly impact on me. I have found the balance of pushing my opinions onto others in an aggressive disrespectful way and being coerced, controlled and manipulated into a life of passivity and a self-esteem which as a result of feeling ashamed I have not spoken up or alloowed myself to be treated without dignity and self respect.
The elections have given me an insight into the political and personal beliefs of many friends and acquaintances and I hope that we can continue to treat each other with such respect as is deserving to all of us - and hoping that for those who do not treat others with the same a change of heart may come soon.