I invite you to take a deep breath with me…breathe in….and breathe out…
Sometimes it helps to pause. You may look more clearly and really notice what you see.
When you look at yourself, what do you see?
When looking at the folks in your home, organization, or in your community, what do you notice?
Take another breathe before we take a little journey. Breathe in. Breathe out. Step inside the courtroom with me to meet someone. Looking around, you see many people sitting on court benches. The judge has not yet taken a seat. You see the court reporter. Notice the bailiff standing off to the side. Hear the murmurs of attorneys in buttoned up shirts and gray pants and navy dress suits and heels.
You and I walk toward a young woman with a large purplish bruise on her cheek and broken jaw. I call her Samantha. If you did not know that Samantha’s husband smacked her and pushed her into a wall, you might wonder why she is here. We are in court today to help her obtain a protective order to prevent Samantha’s husband from contacting her or being around her. She wants the violence to stop.
Notice what you think. You may feel pity, sympathy, frustration, anger, or disgust. Your feelings are not facts.
When you look at Samantha, what do you see?
If you only see her broken jaw and bruised face, you are not seeing all of Samantha. You are not seeing the whole truth about her. Samantha has a childhood self, dreams, and wishes. She holds roles as daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, teammate, employee, volunteer, and community member. Samantha is so much more than you might see.
Samantha holds value. Her value is intrinsic. It does not waiver based upon any circumstance, situation, or condition. It does not change based upon her bruise, broken jaw, or act of violence against her.
The truth is her husband holds value too. We see the result of her husband not honoring her value or treating her as valuable.
Whatever her husband or anyone else thinks, believes, or does, Samantha’s value does not change.
October is domestic violence awareness month. According to Project Opal, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
You may wonder how this impacts your organization or community. Victims of domestic violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year and the cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion.
Whether or not you know someone experience domestic violence, you can empower peace by the way you look at people.
What do you believe about your value?
What do you believe about the value of the people around you?
No one can change your value.
May you know that for yourself and everyone around you.
May you affirm your value by the way you treat yourself and be clear about what treatment you will allow.
You may not know Samantha. You do know someone who may be hurting and have no bruises or marks that tell you.
May you affirm the value of the people around you by being clear in your words and actions that you recognize their human value.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, contact Project Opal.
If you want help creating more peace at home, work, or in your community, sign up for peace coaching.
What step will you take to more fully see someone’s value?