Different Gender Orientations are about Belonging

We are not born homosexual, heterosexual, transsexual, etc; no, we are born sexual. In the same way we are not born carnivores, vegans, vegetarians; no, we are born with an appetite. Sexuality not only ensures the survival of the human species, it also is the most powerful way to attract a member of the same or opposite gender. Whilst both heterosexuality and homosexuality involve sexual pleasuring between two males or two females or a male and female, its presence is principally about finding a total relationship with the same or opposite gender person. We all know in heterosexual relationships (can we please drop the word ‘straight’) that whilst sexual attraction is what can initiate the relationship, it is love, friendship, companionship, shared ideas, creativity, interest in each other’s lives that determines the endurance of the relationship. Ultimately, what is most likely to determine the longevity of a relationship – of whatever adult nature – (can we also please resist using the denigrating term LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) – is the degree that each party to the relationship comes into consciousness of his or her own wholeness and that of his or her partner.

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Doesn’t Anybody Ask the Obvious Question on Bullying?

What I typically find when examining the literature on bullying are lists of signs to look out for in children and teenagers who are being bullied. These signs are important indicators for those at the receiving end of bullying. However, what I don’t come across are lists of signs to look out for so as to identify those young people and, indeed, older people, who engage in the multiple ways one can bully nowadays. Surely, the sooner these signs are spotted by parents, teachers, workplace managers, the more likely it is to ‘nip in the bud’ the bullying behaviour. In identifying bullying behaviour, here are some of the signs to watch for:

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The Story Behind What We Do

Everybody has a story and each person’s story is a unique autobiography and only that person fully knows their story.

However, some aspects of a person’s story may be known only at an unconscious level and this hidden world will only become available to consciousness when the person finds adequate emotional and social safety, initially with another and, subsequently, within self.

The story of a person’s life is not the events he or she encounters – for example, difficult birth, loving mother, emotionless home, conditional loving, violent father, possessive mother, kind grandparent, affirming teacher. The story consists in the person’s inner responses to these events. What is amazing in a family or classroom or workplace is that each person responds in a unique way to situations that arise. This means that each child has a different mother and a different father, each student a different teacher, each employee a different manager and each voter a different politician. This makes total sense because when two individuals interact, inevitably, their interaction will be of a unique nature. Parents are powerful witnesses to how each child is completely different from the other and this happens whether children are reared in benign or difficult circumstances.

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Is Compassion Possible in the Workplace?

Compassion is an emotion that arises in response to understanding that the difficult behaviours of either employees or managers are not consciously deliberate in their neglect of others but are unconsciously designed to bring attention to the individual’s inner turmoil. Is it a bridge too far to ask an employee who has been relentlessly bullied by a manager to have a compassionate understanding of the manager’s unconscious plight? Such a situation is only possible when individuals who have been bullied first of all develop a compassionate understanding of their own emotional pain and the passivity that has unconsciously prevented the emergence of an assertiveness that would have challenged the bullying behaviour when it first presented. There are two very separate issues that require consideration here – one, the plight of those who are at the receiving end of bullying and, two, the plight of those who owing to their inner securities resort to bullying to reduce perceived threats to their wellbeing. There is a further consideration – that compassionate understanding is suggesting that individuals who bully or who are passive are responsible to their defensive responses but they are not responsible for their actions. The ‘to’ and ‘for’ distinction is important because when others insist you are ‘responsible for’ your actions, they are judging that you are deliberately being neglectful, whereas when others assert the need for you to take ‘responsibility to’ your actions, I know that your bullying arises from a place of hurt within yourself; in this way they are compassionate, non-judgemental but still assert the need for you to take responsibility to the neglect perpetrated.

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