Really, this is not about us. We only have their best interests in mind. Then, why does it seem so damn hard for other people to take our advice?
After I read my friend’s post about her experience as a black woman, I felt compelled to take a stand. To raise my voice against racism.
I wanted to write about my support. I wanted to write about how terrible racism is and how much I condemn it.
But it did not feel right. What I had to write was something else and it wasn’t comfortable at all. Am I racist?
For most of my career as advisor for Results Based Monitoring (RBM) I supported government and NGO teams in changing their perspective and approach to the way projects are planned, implemented and monitored. RBM is about asking the right question. The most important shift was moving from asking “Why” to asking “What for”. Over the years and decades thousands of projects have been implemented around the world in reaction to an undesired situation. Wells were drilled, schools and hospitals built,…
For a very long time we have held on to the belief that unless we expect, claim, request and ask for what ‘is ours’ we will not get it. Countless courses to help people be more assertive stress the importance to – if not aggressively, then at least firmly demand our expectations to be fulfilled and our needs to be met.
Whenever we set goals, we’re encouraged to explore the why behind the goal. That makes a lot of sense, because the universe has its own way of delivery.
I’m beginning to understand something else, though. There is another place where the why should never enter.
A lot of our expectations are not our own. Culture shapes what we think about the world, about what people, including us, should do and how we should all be. Cultural norms – which are nothing but expectations – define what success is, how a marriage is supposed to run, how children are to be raised and even what happiness consists of. Social animals that we are, we strive to adhere cultural expectations, lest we be excluded from the happy zoo of conformity.