Dirty bathwater? Just throw out the baby
Every now and then the world changes. Either we get new information, or we change our perception of old information. But one thing never seems to change — the misuse of our own power and the obsession with which we view that of other people.
We come into the world powerless. We seek a source of power. We get it when we can and we manipulate for it when we can’t. We careen between these two extremes of entrepreneur and martyr; aggressor and victim; “go getter” and “give away the store”. We can’t seem to evolve from this either/or perception to the both/and perception, necessary for a functioning global society.
We judge everyone as good or bad, and woe betide you if you disagree with which side of the divide I’ve put people on.
The world of coaching and psychotherapy has changed in recent years. The old model involved focussing on the problem, the childhood wound leading to the faulty belief systems — “I’m unloveable… I’m not enough… I’m bad so I have to work really, really hard to prove that I’m good.” Many of us dropped this model, simply because it wasn’t working. It just created an endless roller coaster of good/bad. Nobody got better.
People would return from a Tony Robbins seminar punching the air with their awesomeness and unlimited potential… “I’m AMAZING” only to wake up 48 hours later feeling rubbish. They realised that the Master of the Universe costume was actually Tony’s, and it had magicked itself back into his closet while they were sleeping. Looking at their bank balance they also discovered they’d spent a lot of money to borrow something that didn’t even require dry cleaning.
The new model of coaching is wonderfully simple, it’s just hard to do. (We, of course, prefer complex and easy.) In this new model, nobody can make us feel ANYTHING.
- Other people behave in a certain way. (“Would you like to see my penis?”)
- We have a THOUGHT about that. (They shouldn’t do/say that!)
3. We lose our power. (aka We lose our shit).
4. We change our thinking and respond in a more creative way.
There are two ways we lose power (obvs…duality in everything)
- We give it away, because of our crazy thinking “I’m powerless. This always happens to me. Life’s just not fair.”
- We trade it for something we’d rather have instead. “I’m not happy about this but I get to meet influential people. I’ll pretend it’s ok because it’ll give me a career advantage.”
Underneath both of these responses is the REAL feeling “I betrayed myself. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” This rage is so hard to contain that it is often projected outwards as OUTRAGE which goes looking for someone to blame.
Obviously I’m not talking about the misuse of physical power. Acts of rape and aggression are different because there’s no choice involved. But how much of our energy goes into solving these real problems? Right now, a ten year old girl is waking up on her straw mattress knowing that her day will involve being raped by a succession of older men who have paid the brothel owner for the privilege .
The fact that Louis CK got his penis out and masturbated in front of people is bad. The fact that we still have pedophilia and sex trafficking in 2017, is bad on a whole other level. But which one is getting all the outrage and column inches?
I had a conversation with a nurse recently after an elderly man in hospital exposed himself. She laughed and said “Little boys come into the world playing with their willy and they leave it the same way.” It brought humour and common sense to a world in need of both. As the wonderful Brene Brown says… Shame is the most toxic and debilitating emotion. How many careers have been ended by our need to shame others? How many brilliant lives cut short?
How many works of art we would be deprived of, if previous generations had exacted the same price from the wages of sin. Perhaps no Sistine Chapel, Birth of Venus or Mona Lisa.
And in the interests of fairness, are we going to hound and shame every man who has ever sent an unsolicited dick pick? According to the girls I coach, that would mean half the people on Tinder.
Before I get a barrage of hostile mail, I’m not saying dysfunctional sexual behaviour is right, I’m saying the current response doesn’t allow for a better conversation, in which everyone could gain more clarity, wisdom, love, forgiveness, change and transformation— all more preferable than judgement, blame and war.
Life is about the management of our own power. Into whose hands do we command our spirit — the tiny hands of the media and Donald Trump? Where do we spend our time and energy? Do we use it to judge the past and analyse the present? Or do we use it more creatively — to imagine a better future for everyone?
If there’s one thing Louis CK is good at, it’s holding up a mirror to the human condition. Perhaps the movie he made — the one we can no longer see — is no exception. The theme of I love you Daddy (brilliantly reviewed in the New Yorker by Alexandra Schwartz is exactly what we should be discussing now… power and the abuse of power. The ways in which older, high status men use their power to seduce younger, needy women. The ways in which women trade their youth and beauty for status or safety.
These conversations could pave the way to conversations about the real problem — how do we overcome our fear of ageing and what that represents for us? how do we overcome our reluctance to grow up and take responsibility for our own life and choices?
Just kidding… let’s carry on with the witch hunt, because in the past, that’s always been so successful.