Monday, February 10, 2014

Do You Just Walk Out of the Room?

At the risk of offending some people, and/or being misunderstood, I want to make an analogy between someone dealing with cancer and part of the messages conveyed in the following videos. In no way am I saying that someone dealing with cancer has it as bad as someone who is treated in a biased way because of their skin color, nor am I saying that it is tantamount to someone being mistreated and abused in the way that those are in the second video.

However, I often talk about the core of what makes us connect, and what we can relate to as humans. And there are elements that I relate to in these videos as someone who is dealing with cancer.

In the first video it is the girl who walks out of the room. It is like those who walk away from me because they can. When someone is dealing with cancer, they cannot just up and walk away from their emotions and what they are feeling. They can't just stop interacting with it. 

There is also conversation about treating a person as who they are. In the end there seems to be a greater sense of relatedness and understanding. I can only hope that there will come a time that people will have a better relatedness and understanding when it comes to the cancer conversation. 

I found myself even wondering what a similar exercise might look like in a cancer context. When you deny an aspect of a person, you in some ways deny the person. When you deny a person, you in some way are in denial of an aspect of who they are. We tend to try to avoid the things that we don't understand or make us uncomfortable. The thing about that is that behind those things are people - like us - who have emotions and feelings and are sensitive in relation to dynamics with others. 

None of us are impervious, and yet when it comes to others we can often be oblivious to the net result of our actions, or lack thereof.

The second video I can relate to in the sense that many times if something is "out of sight" it is "out of mind." If something doesn't show up right in front of someone, it is no where as real as when it is at a distance. 

Interestingly, perhaps, I wondered about the people in the images. I thought they were actors/models. It turns out that the images of the people are real, just put into a different context. I think it interesting because we in some way have been trained to divorce ourselves from the reality of things because we see so much fabricated reality on the TV and in the movies and videos.

What is presented is stark enough, but when you put it into a context that people can relate to, it can be downright terrifying. Do people then walk away because it's not them? Because it's nothing they have to deal with? Because they can? Or do they do something differently now that they have an awareness they may not have otherwise had before?

I wonder if anything changed as a result of that campaign. Apparently it got a lot of attention when it first came out. But like with a lot of things, talking is one thing, action is another. However, the two are connected, as many times action begins with a conversation. Conversation creates the awareness that creates a fertile ground for change. But as wonderful as fertile grounds are, they still need to be attended.

If you have the time, the videos are worth watching, and will give you a greater context for what I have been writing about.

It seems to me that things like this are designed to elicit the empathic part of our nature. We wouldn't have things like this if human beings didn't feel the need to be connected on some level. But we don't connect very well when we are more focused on our own issues and fears and concerns and our need to compare and contrast and compete and have a contest to see who has it worse, and perhaps ultimately more deserving of attention and help and understanding.

At some point in life we all have things that happen that affect us in a way that others can't seem to understand. We all know what that feels like. But often that feeling gets "stuck" in the context it originated and the similarities to the situations of others aren't realized because the superficial trappings are different.

If we more fully understood another, we would likely more fully engage. I think that it is a lack of understanding that is perceived as understanding that drives us apart. In allowing ourselves to experience the things we try to avoid, we are given a gift through connecting with another that can often transcend the superficial dynamics that masquerade as something significant.

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