This participant has incorporated the impact of the Reconciliation Leadership Certificate Program into a short story.
An excerpt is presented here.
THE ‘UNLOVABLE’ LIE
A Bump on a Path to Peace
B. Junahli Hunter, Ph.D.
In their most recent session, Molly’s therapist had used the word, “procrastinate”, to refer to some behavior that Molly had just described but that, in her eyes, was very different from procrastination. Following the session, Molly found herself feeling first judged, then hurt, then angry. She’d known Jake for years, trusted him, believed he cared about her and now this… this pejorative comment so casually tossed out, as though he understood what she was saying. “Well, he didn’t!” she proclaimed loudly in her mind’s ear.
During the same week in which that session occurred, Molly completed a workshop, given partly in and partly across from the UN, that had addressed creating a global culture of peace. One goal of the workshop had been for each of the participants to decide on one or more actions they would take, following the workshop, to move the planet toward a culture of peace.
An attribute of the presenter, Vanessa, which made a deep impression on Molly, had been Vanessa’s ability to see the light inside every person she encountered, regardless of how the person might speak or behave. Influenced by this, Molly decided on her action, or course of action, to contribute to a peace culture. She would intentionally refrain from starting small “wars” wherever she could manage to. What that meant was that if someone she knew said or did something that hurt her, Molly would intentionally refrain from having judgments of and/or anger toward the person, including such sentiments that never got expressed, that remained locked in her mind.
What she would substitute for that type of reaction would be awareness of her belief that every person does contain a light within. Particularly for those with whom she was closest, and therefore by whom she would tend to feel most hurt and toward whom, therefore, most angry, she vowed she would, at such times, access her unshakable conviction of their caring for her. That understanding would be accompanied by concomitant certainty that whatever the person had said or done, it could not have occurred with the awareness or intent of hurting her. For her to respond in that way within could not help but result, Molly believed, in a correspondingly different overt response as well to the person by whom she felt offended.
So when, in her next session with Jake, Molly brought up his comment in the previous session and her reaction to it, she was chagrinned to observe that she felt just as hurt by – and judgmental of and angry toward – Jake as she had prior to Vanessa’s workshop. Well, maybe not as judgmental but almost the same degree of hurt and anger. “So,” she said, “maybe I can use this as a chance to figure out where all that pain and anger’s comin’ from….” Her voice trailed off as she pondered where to go.
“Where does that come from… I wonder what the source is,” Molly mused aloud. “It’s as though I expect, since you care for me, that you’ll never make a mistake, that is say something by which I feel hurt.” She paused as she took this in. “Well, I certainly don’t like that, to see that about myself. But it seems to make sense, that is to account for why I can get so hurt, then so angry.” She checked that Jake was following before further thinking aloud. “Wow! What an expectation: if you really care about me, you’ll never make such a mistake, never say anything by which I feel hurt.” Molly paused again as she continued to pursue this line of reasoning. Then: “So it seems I’ve set up an impossible expectation. People who really care never say anything that is hurtful to me and the converse would be that if they do say any such thing, they don’t really care about me? Ugh-h-h…! That sounds awful….” Another pause. “Doesn’t that make sense, though? I mean doesn’t that line of thinking seem to follow?” she asked.