It is apt that I am writing my launch blog in October - Domestic Violence Awareness Month - a movement I got my start in and forever grateful for the self-discovery path it took me on.
Back in 2002, when I was working as an advocate for survivors of violence, it was easy to vilify the person doing harm to their partner. After all, I was working with women in crisis, needing help. At that time, my organization ran a Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP) for men who were court mandated to participate. The male facilitators would participate as peers instead of as ‘experts,’ and the group explored the reasons behind the use of violence towards their partner. It is a choice.
Then, the script got flipped. The male facilitator conducted a group with the women advocates. We wanted to understand the process better.
It was a powerful exercise because we all had to be open about our own use of violence - a harsh word, yelling at a loved one, pushing someone’s button, passive aggressively giving the silent treatment. I was resistant at first. It can be jarring when the focus is on you, and naturally my instinct was to get defensive.
There was an awkward silence. The facilitator just held the space and didn’t speak for a few minutes. Then, he spoke, “Well, why do we use these tactics? To control another person, to get a reaction. As simple as that.”
That was a transformative moment.
This exercise made me become uncomfortably more self aware about my interactions with my loved ones - a sarcastic harsh comment or choosing to go silent instead of voicing my displeasure.
If I’m working towards ending violence in all forms in my community, then I have to exhibit the values and behaviors I want to see modeled in the world. It’s simple, though simple is never easy. All I know is the only person I have control over is me and me only.
It brought a new level of gentleness in my leadership, in all areas, be it personal or professional. I deepened my listening skills, I eschewed roles being the reasons for holding power over another, and I just started showing up differently. It’s a lifelong commitment - this self-discovery path, full of stumbles.
Along this journey, I’ve learned from amazing mentors and teachers on different ways of bringing this self-awareness forth, and I continue to learn.
Today, I’m excited to launch this blog (and my coaching business) where I’ll be sharing more in depth about my own journey of showing up in this chaotic world, fully aligned with my values. It’s a beautiful thing truly as it is a path steeped in gratitude and joy.
P.S. If you are curious and want to learn more, I have a few slots open to work with those ready for a shift and know that they have it within themselves to transform.