It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged as a lot has happened in life recently, the biggest being the passing and laying to rest of the matriach of our family, my grandmother. Hannah Joji Ikonne. She was the best grandmother ever and her passing away is one of the sources of inspiration for this post.
Who are you? When I ask myself that question I realize that I am the sum total of the experiences and circumstances (and more) that have occurred during my lifetime. Let me quickly share a few:
- I grew up in a home of faith
- I grew up in a third world country
- I did farm work, cutting foliage with a cutlass, planting corn, cassava etc etc
- I walked 3 miles to my high school and 3 miles back home every day for 4 years in the scorching sun
- I lived on a university campus where academic rigor was the order of the day
- Etc etc…
How have these factors impacted me as an individual?
- I am person of faith
- I have empathy for the less fortunate and I’m content with whatever I have as I realize there are people who have much less
- I am not afraid of hard work and get irritated often when people complain about certain aspects of our white collar jobs
- I appreciate having a car 🙂
- I have little respect for those who haven’t done their research on a subject and yet have such a loud opinion on the subject
These are how the factors impacted me, not anyone else. A lot of the folks I grew up with experienced similar conditions and were impacted in a different way. (You know who you are).
But the point of this post is not to make my life experiences material for the public domain but rather to remind us of something we already knew, we are complex creatures. I feel that this is extremely important to remember as we interact with one another, especially in the workplace.
Don’t be quick to judge or jump to conclusions. Remember that the individual on the other side of the table is also a product of their life experiences just like you are. Have empathy. Be tolerant. Be vulnerable.
Now I know for a fact that this is easier said than done (I personally struggle with being vulnerable for example) but we need to keep trying if we want to experience deep and meaningful relationships. Paraphrasing St. Francis:
Seek to understand then be understood
Rest in peace Mama Ukwu.