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Monday, April 11, 2011

Fear of offending others makes us the enablers

When I'm talking with my friends in private, or when I'm writing to you on this blog, I write from my heart. What I write here is truly what I believe. Actually, it's what I would say in the ideal world. It's what I would say if the entire world were like it was portrayed in "The Invention of Lying."
Yet my actions in public, what I say in public, I tend to measure everything I say on the basis of what I thought others would think of it. Of course you know that the one problem about when you do that, the one thing that is inescapable, is you are subordinating yourself to everybody else.
What I am basically doing then is that I am, and what I think, is less consequential, less important, and that I matter less than those other people -- some of whom you have a pretty good idea are wrong. Yet I am afraid to offend other people. I am afraid to make waves. I am afraid of rejection. I am afraid I might say something that will get back to my boss and I will have to face the consequences. I'm afraid I'll offend a coworker or patient. I'm afraid I might have to face questions. I'm afraid more work might be created that I don't want to do. This is a big one, considering most of the work I already do is not necessary.
However, I do this and I know as a fact that if you are more concerned about what some other person thinks of you, or if you worry that they might be offended, or if you're worried about what they might think of what you might do, you are saying you don't think much of yourself -- and that is a prison. And all that does is deny the person in that behavior mode from being who they really are.
When this happens new innovations are never invented, and new ideas are never shared, and nothing new and better ever happens. New ideas are never brought to the table, and therefore nothing bad is ever improved.
Now there is another side of this coin, and that is other people who are so stubborn, who are so afraid to make waves themselves, or who are so unwilling to change, or who don't want to create more work for themselves, or who are so controlling, that they stifle people from voicing what they really think.
You can see how this might cause a dilemma. It prevents people from being who they really are. And when this happens, you know what happens? Morale and a feeling of self worth is diminished, and the only thing that increases is apathy.
Thus, the moment you try to be what you think everyone else wants you to be, you are finished, and you are living a life defined by fear, and fear kills. Fear is a prison. Some people say they don't care what people think, yet I don't believe the people who say that are telling the truth. I think that every person, or at least a majority of us, or at least the ones of us who are normal, we all think about what other people think.
We might not be arrogant and condescending, we might be modest and humble, yet we still care what people think. That's fine. Yet if you stop being who you are, if you stop being yourself and you start being the person you think other poeple want you to be, or what you think other people want you to be, then you are in that prison. You are living a life of fear. And you are enabling the bad behavior of other people.
Many Americans are afraid to discuss new ideas in the arena of ideas, a place where ideas are supposed to be discussed. The result is what we have today in Washington. No problems ever get solved. We have a feeling of hopelessness, or that there is nothing we can do. Yet there is. But we don't do it. We are afraid we might offend.
I think we RTs are like this with doctors. I think a doctor writes a stupid order and we don't say anything because it's easier not to, or because we are afraid of offending a doctor. We are like that with the admins creating order sets that make no sense. We are like that with lack of protocols.
So nothing ever gets changed. In this way, we can't blame doctors and administrators and board officers and government officials for all that is wrong with the medical field, and all that is wrong with society.
We have to place partial blame on ourselves. For all that is wrong with society, we are the enablers who allow this bad behavior to continue. The solution to the problem starts with you and me.
The solution will never come from those who created the problem. The solution will start when you and I quit worrying about what others will think about what we say or do. The solution will start when we unlock the doors to the prison we placed ourselves in, let go of our fears, and open the doors.
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1 comment:

jadeokami said...

aye i noticed this dormant fear of mine surfacing. feeling stifled and seduced by others that it's wrong to be who you are. even if it means an opinion that not everyone may like.
i'm happy being blunt and to the point. if i know it offends someone. i feel this guilt but it never really solves anything.i'd fear even more to even approach and talk things out. my parents encouraged guilt since childhood. its tempting to blame them on everything but obviously we can move on our own. hey thanks for posting. it's tough if your the only one. but looks like alot of us are experience a similar challenge.