Think Differently, Embrace Everyone

In the bygone era that was my youth, in the mid 1980’s, I signed up to a course on teaching Assertiveness and Sexuality for women. It was led by a brilliant Psychologist called Anne Dickson. 

She was everything I wasn’t - as far as I could perceive - she was tall for a start,  probably about 5 foot 10inches to my mere 5 foot 1inch; she was very well educated, middle class and very self assured. Well, this is how I saw it. What I later learnt, of course, was that my “viewpoint” was bursting to the seams with assumptions! Not just that though, it was also loaded with prejudice! 

I was deeply envious of someone who had ‘effortlessly’ fallen into university from a background of mutual family and financial support. I was envious of her ‘easy worn confidence’ - today we might term it entitlement and expectation that she would be heard and respected. I therefore jumped into my own defensive class warrior vehicle and played the ‘working class hard-done by card’ which life had clearly dealt me. 

I was a proud working class person (was I?) who would quote the injustices of wealth and it’s unfair distribution. Making sure people knew that I was against the middle classes snobbery and the inevitable put down if you ‘hadn’t gone to the right school or university’. 

My background was so different. Eldest, daughter (why couldn’t I have been a boy!) to Irish working class immigrants. School, my haven, was merely a holding station until I could bring some money into the house. I was expected to leave school at the first opportunity (I lied - told them I had to stay until I was 16) at 15 without qualifications. 

So here is where my story picks up that first layer of prejudice. Education. I had to do it alone. No encouragement. No support. Older. Often without money and also with two children alongside, as a single parent. 

But I digress. One of the many things Anne Dickson taught me in that year as her pupil was that we can never presume to know someone else’s life. We may ask. We may get some answers. 

The person we present to the world may not be who we truly are. I learnt about myself on this course. It’s how I came to realise my true potential. Leaving behind my own carefully crafted and familial assumptions, I was able to be free. Liberated to think differently and to embrace the beauty of the world and those flawed, scared and magnificent humans, that we all are. 

If this blog has raised questions in your mind which you would like to discuss further, please do contact me.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Shop now