Dan Siegel coined the term “MWe” to reflect how our minds really work. You and I are more than simply a me and a we; both me and we shape our sense of self. Our minds are a self-organizing, emergent process of a complex system that exists both within us and between us (Siegel, 2012). This complex system is non-linear (small inputs lead to large and unpredictable results), it is open (influenced by things from outside of “itself”), and it is chaos-capable (meaning it can function in erratic, unpredictable ways at times).
The MWe of Facebook (FB) during this election has reflected these complexities in my life over the past week. A FB altercation has resulted in family strife, setting hard boundaries, and shame. The chaos on FB was triggering to both my daughter & me; yet instead of supporting one another, we fought. Our dignity felt violated and we lashed out at one other.
And then I remembered my research project with its framework of Universal Dignity. Neuroscientists have found that a psychological injury, such as being excluded, stimulates the same part of the brain as a physical wound (Hicks 2010). Targets of bullying develop chronic fatigue, psychological and physical symptoms, stress, insomnia, mental stress reactions, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal thoughts.
According to Siegel, three components of “Mindsight” are insight (reflecting with focused attention on the internal, subjective world of the mind), empathy (feeling the inner experience of another within one’s own mind), and integration (the linkage of systems including the brain and interpersonal relationships). Effective leadership is a result of change and growth within the mind, brain, body, and relationships, an integration of an embodied “mind, brain, we.” Harmony and well-being emerges with integration. Without integration, chaos (fight), rigidity (fright, flight, freeze) or both develop. Effective leadership is a result of change and growth within the mind, brain, body, and relationships, an integration of an embodied “mind, brain, we”.
Our dignity is inviolable & treating one another with dignity opens up possibility for mutual growth. Feedback in a culture of dignity can help an individual see what they cannot see within themselves. There are three developmental stages of the understanding of dignity: dependence (me), independence (I), and interdependence (we). Optimal conflict is positive, productive conflict that has an important function to take individuals from the dependence level to a higher developmental level (Hicks, 2011). Optimal conflict moves conversations from mutual harm to mutual growth.
I propose that incivility and bullying, and other dignity violations, are not problems to be solved; but they are ongoing challenges to be managed. Most of us have a tendency to be thinkers or feelers, and focusing on one without the other leads to the worst aspects of both. In contrast, when I can do “both/and” then I can truly “make mwe great again”.
We are all dignity violators at one time or another. We are all uncivil at times. And we are all sinners. We have an opportunity to listen, especially when we disagree. We can use one another as mirrors to see our blind spots and grow.
So bottom line is that I want to test these ideas with real people who want to bring universal dignity to the workplace, the home and the planet.
We can choose to bring out the best in one another.
Since yesterday, my daughter and I have started a month long cleanse of toxicities (ie. alcohol, addictions to FB, etc.) and we are adding back spirituality, exercise and yoga. We are listening to the hearts and minds of mwe. We enjoyed optimal productive conflict, and will look forward to more growth opportunities in the future.
If you want to work with people that you disagree with, to ensure universal dignity for mwe, then I invite you to join mwe at https://www.facebook.com/PurposefulBecoming/
Or email me at Michelle.Harwick@PurposefulBecoming.com
Please consider answering the following in your email (or post)
What thoughts make you know that you are at high risk to act uncivilly? (ie. make you forget another person’s inherent self worth)
What feelings make you forget your own inherent self worth?
What brings feelings of awe to challenging relationships (ie relationships which include dignity violations)?
What brings thoughts of reverence to challenging relationships?
Hicks, Donna (2011). Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict. YaleUniversity Press.
Parse, R. R. (2010). Human Dignity A Humanbecoming Ethical Phenomenon.Nursing Science Quarterly, 23(3), 257-262.
Parse, R. R. (2016). Humanbecoming Hermeneutic Sciencing Reverence, Awe, Betrayal, and Shame in The Lives of Others. Nursing science quarterly,29(2), 128-135.
Pearson, C & Porath, C. (2009). The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It. Penguin Publishing Group.
Siegel, Daniel J. (2012). Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). W. W. Norton & Company.