I’ve always worried about whether I should tell my story to the prisoners that I work with, or not. The team leader is adamant that I must. And so I do.
Last week I realized the value of sharing this story.
I guess I’ve been worried that the prisoners may think I’m telling my story to make them feel guilty or bad. This is not my intention.
To put this in context: I give a workshop on journaling, which is the first workshop that is part of a greater 20-week rehabilitation program, called Heartwork.
There are many uses for journaling.
Amongst them is using the journal to process a traumatic event.
I share the story of my armed robbery to illustrate how I used the trauma journal to heal and move on.
I told this story at Boksburg prison last Wednesday.
The prisoners participated, engaged with the content, and asked so many questions, we eventually had to stop and tell them they could speak to me individually during the tea break.
One man came up to me. He towered above me as he gently shook my hand.
“Miss Kirsty”, he said. “I am so sorry about what happened to you. We do this to other people, but we don’t know what it’s like on the other side. I apologize on behalf of the man who did this to you.”
I have to admit to feeling a little teary-eyed in that moment.
I realized then that the value add here was that this man was able to see things from another perspective. As soon as we are able to do that, we are able to see a bigger picture, to experience empathy, and to have better insight and understanding of people, situations and life itself.
I have coached many people who have had ‘aha’ moments when looking a situations from another perspective. The ability to do this indicates a certain level of emotional intelligence. The deep understanding one gains from being able to see things from another perspective allows for better decision making and ultimately life mastery.
If there are situations in your life where you are struggling, look at it from a different perspective. What do you think is going on for the other person? What are their views and struggles? What can you learn from looking through their eyes? What action can you take now that adds value to everyone involved?
I’m sitting in my car writing this post. I’m parked outside Groenpunt prison in Vereeniging. It’s a sunny zero degrees outside. In a little while I’ll be talking to these prisoners about journaling. I’ll tell my story again. I wonder what the reaction will be like today….
The only thing you sometimes
have control over is perspective.
You don’t have control over your situation.
But you have a choice about how you view it.
Photo from http://ow.ly/yooMb