Written by Pamela Johnson and Carl Haefling
Life in groups is fraught with risk.
To reveal oneself risks our deepest fears…
- The fear that we will not be included.
- The fear that we will not be liked.
- The fear that will not have influence or control.
- The fear that our needs will not be met.
- The fear that our self-concept will not be validated by others.
- The fear that we will not be judged as competent or worthy to be known.
To authentically meet another in deep contact risks as well:
- The fear that we will be changed by the meeting.
- The fear that we will lose our differentiation, our identity, that which makes us unique and precious.
- The fear that we will be challenged, provoked by the other.
- The fear of “creative destruction” unleashed in our new becoming.
The ultimate risk is in not knowing…
- Not knowing how you are seen.
- Not knowing how you are understood.
- Not knowing how you are heard.
- Not knowing yourself – your patterns, projections, hooks and triggers.
- Not knowing your gifts, how you touch others, how you are touched.
- Not daring to adventure into the possibility of genuine intimacy with others.
The PROMISE of awareness is choice…
- The freedom to respond authentically and purposefully.
- The freedom to take responsibility for you want, need, say and do.
- The freedom to define the ways in which you allow yourself and others to limit you.
- The freedom to influence the health and potential of others.
The RISK of awareness is choice…
- The risk that our choices have consequences – the possibility of being wrong or being right.
- The risk that our choices may have impact different than we intend.
- The risk that our choices may cause pain and grief and suffering even as we act to support health, well being and healing.
- The risk that our choices make us ultimately responsible and accountable in the world.
Groups provide opportunities for risking and for learning –we cannot truly learn without taking the risk to reveal ourselves and to meet others in their revealing.
Groups provide space for learning and understanding, joy and grief, peace and rage–but they must be grounded in trust, a willingness to explore, to share, to confront oneself and others.
And paradoxically, trust in groups can only emerge when people risk.