Friday, April 30, 2010

Crucial Conversations #2

What are some of the factors that inhibit these crucial conversations?

I suggest there are four major factors:

1. We equate being an adult with being in the public sphere, independent and self-sufficient.
2. Bodily functions are considered to belong to the private sphere, the private self. If we talk about these at all we do so with professionals in private offices.
3. Weakness and disability are considered abnormal, almost aberrant. Never let them see you sweat!
4. For our ancestors roaming the savannah, the desert, the forest---the old and the weak become prey when they fell behind or looked weak---we still have that deep memory and the instinctive drive to keep up, hide disabilities.

As a consequence:

~We hide aging and illness in the private home and denigrate dependence on others.
~We don’t know how to communicate about our disabilities in a way that furthers respectful interdependence.
~Like many behaviors that used to be pro-adaptive, the instinct to hide needs and weaknesses can sometimes be mal-adaptive.

I think that hearing aids are a perfect example of the potential for maturing from independence (often a cover for hiding a disability) to respectful interdependence.

There is nothing wrong with my hearing. People these days just don’t speak up. My TV is not too loud---and anyway---My house! My rules!


I will wear a hearing aid so that I can better communicate. I trust the people around me enough to reveal my disability. Also I can contribute to their quality of life by not assaulting them with the noise from my TV.

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