We all get there together or we don’t get there at all.
From the movie ~ Hidden Figures
The first half of 2016 was reasonably calm. However, by the time we reached the second half of the year with the aftermath of the British EU referendum and the endless drama around the US elections, I found myself constantly feeling as if I was in a Soap Opera on steroids.
In dream like fashion, I wished I could speak to the producer and ask him to tone things down as it was becoming unrealistic with the constant twists and turns at every corner. I say dream, however, many would think of it all more as a nightmare with outcomes that they had neither anticipated or wanted.
Beyond any electoral outcomes and the nightmarish outcomes, worse for me were the deaths; pain and suffering of those afflicted and/or displaced by terrorism and war; and the growing divisiveness in society, fed by undressed issues, a blame cultures and the entrenchment of prisms of them and us through the dichotomy of a negative other.
I could go into an in-depth analysis of the shock and sadness caused by the death of celebrities and everyday people more directly connected through personal relationships. The Syrian crisis with cease-fires during which abominations took place such as the targeting of hospitals; a response to people seeking refuge; constant acts across Europe and yes other parts of the world. These are all bothersome. However, most disconcerting and destructive of all is the divisiveness and growing concept of other viewed in a negative and different light. The failure to see ourselves in each other.
I guess it’s not easy to see ourselves in others when they are presenting viewpoints that appear to be in opposition not just to our interest, but to our very existence. In many ways it’s what my book, “Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain is all about though. It’s also as President Barack Obama once said; “if we can begin to see ourselves in each other then the barriers will begin to tumble down.”
I found myself watching a number of box sets of television series in 2016. With well-produced products such as Desperate Housewives, and Greys Anatomy, I became well acquainted with the characters. I came to seem them as whole beings – developing an understanding of them and the character of the different characters and the what’s and whys of their behaviour both the good and It’s not about justifying bad behaviours, but I did develop an n understanding of the why’s of their what’s. Most people in the productions are basically good people – possibly at times mixed up, misguided, coming from a different starting point/philosophy or premise or what you have you.
The same applies to the vast majority of people around us – be it those that come to us seeking refugee or those that vote for different things from us. Ultimately, we all want what we believe is best for us and those close to us.
Many hoped for an end to 2016 because they were upset by events of 2016. When it comes to events such as Brexit and election outcomes; moving into a new year doesn’t directly change things; in fact it brings us closer to the outcomes. Talking to a friend earlier, we laughed, as we liked it to a pregnancy. If a lady gets pregnant by the wrong man, moving to a new year doesn’t change the circumstances or outcome. The only thing that really changes things is a change in approach and attitude – developing an understanding that somehow there is a need to find common ground and work together.
It’s in line with this, that you will hear me increasing speak about the Mosaic model this year. The basic believe that there is a need to respect and value differences, which can lead to a bright and beautiful appearance, if we also remember our common interests, and values, which bind us together, like glue.
It’s not always easy with the hateful views and things that some people espouse. But I believe it’s usually it’s more effective to try and find some connection and common ground – to remember humanity another person than to shout hatred from across a wall.
Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, a boutique style Human Value Optimisation Firm. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.
Copyright 2017. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.