Friday, April 16, 2010

The Allure of Likeness

      Oh how we love to be alike. Isn't this how we connect with one another, search for the things we have in common and latch onto them like life rafts; all of us, adrift on this ocean of life; tides of fear, joy, perspective, experience, pulling us this way and that. Of course we want to find ourselves among "likeness". We recognize ourselves in others, we want them to see themselves in us. We get to know ourselves better this way.
   But..... it can be a challange to be true to ourselves. To stand out, to not only display our differences, but to champion them! Isn't our ocean littered with cast aways, wreckage, and rubbish? Who among us hasn't abandoned one ship of self for another, more acceptable, socially appropriate mode of transportation?
    Years ago I began to recognize the ways in which people connected with one another. I became distrubed when I began to understand how negative the threads of similiarity we used to sew our relationships together are. I noticed, in the groups of people I associated with, how common it is to connect through our traumas, wounds, and negative experiences. We like to share our difficulties and display them like costumes, choosing which to don by looking at those around us, comparing our scars, and grouping ourselves with those most like us.
   I bring this up, one, because I often think about it, and two, because I've been thinking about it in relation to my work environment. The allure of likeness is strong. Even though I have spent many years cultivating my awareness of negative habits of connection, I still find myself drawn into the web. Although I am often able to seperate myself from the negative comments about patients/family members/Doctors/nurses, I do slip into it now and then. Icky!
   I recognize the need to vent is strong, and often appropriate. Some situations require a release and sharing with colleagues can be healthy and help to build strong relationships. But much of what goes on is out of habit. It is just too easy to label others, to bond with one another through shared perspectives, to create a circle of "we" by creating a boundary for "them".
   I don't want to loose my perspective and become a part of the common ship of likeness, like the members of Davy Jones' crew in "Pirates of the Carribean". I want my relationships to be woven with threads of positive commonality and difference. I want to be able to use sarcasm and labels occasionaly, because I enjoy humor as a method of healing and communication, but I want to maintain my awareness of the tide that carries me. I fear, if I do not, I will look out at the horizon one day and find myself lost,  woven into the fabric of a ship I did not want to be on, traveling in a direction I never wanted to go.

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