George Floyd. A counsellors perspective, a human perspective.
I’ve spent the last few days considering a response to the recent death of George Floyd and the civil unrest that has understandably followed. Shamefully, his death in such circumstances was not unprecedented, but for a black man to die so violently and neglectfully in the hands of authority is unpalatable, and unacceptable in 2020.
Initially I felt afraid of writing the wrong words or questioned what I could offer as a white woman. But on further reflection, I think that is exactly why it is so important for us each to take a stand and speak out.
Just to be clear;
I am not an expert in racial discrimination.
I am not black.
But I am human.
I will never truly know what it is to be black, but I am trying to show my support as being silent is not enough.
While I consider myself fortunate for many reasons, I consider myself privileged through my profession, in being a counsellor.
My work allows me the honour to sit with, be with and listen to the person sitting in front of me. I have the opportunity to really hear their life experiences, their significant relationships, their experiences of this world. And when you have that opportunity to hear someone else’s journey, you feel what it would be like to live in their skin, empathy just naturally presents itself to you. Colour, class, race, background etc suddenly has no place and for me, it feels impossible to judge.
In both my professional and personal experiences of therapy, it has shown me that compassion heals. To be heard and seen by another ignites hope and can transform. There is no place for hate, discrimination and unkindness, because quite simply it isn’t helpful. Whether that is held within our thoughts, in the language we use, our behaviour to others, or internalised within; it serves no purpose, and no one benefits.
So, this is my message, this is me “speaking up” perhaps we can take something from that? When we ask to refrain from judgement, prejudice and discrimination. Simply listen. Take a few minutes to see and hear the person before you, and empathy, compassion and respect will follow.
There has been a lot of wonderfully written posts, articles, people taking to the streets in protest, influential people speaking up, imagery and artwork. Perhaps you are tired of seeing such a display, but this needs to happen. We are each accountable and we can no more be complacent.
Let’s all speak up and promote compassion, kindness to encourage a movement away from judgement and prejudice.
Enough. It is time for change, and that time is now.