In The Creative Brain Dr. David Eagleman says that “creativity is imagining something that isn’t real yet.” Rather than one set of skills, creative people have mastered the art of taking ideas from one place and using them in another. Far from creating things from ‘nothing’ the best creators are ‘remix’ artists. Like the one dependable tradition in jazz music, that it’s always changing. The tension that emerges for most of us is that our brains are not naturally wired to think creatively. The truth is that our brains and all the processes that follow our thinking are designed for safe, familiar and comfortable experiences. That’s why when people do master the art of creative thinking and living, they end up labelled as geniuses or get run out of town. I’m not sure which one I’ll be called but I believe it’s time to re-think everything around what we think we know about the relationships between women and men.
This generation has an unprecedented opportunity to confront a brokenness that is at the heart of the way women and men relate to each other. But the honest truth is that this opportunity requires us to think differently, even creatively. We have not been here before. And the situation we find ourselves in will require some new skills and attitudes. We need to dig deeper, push against familiar boundaries and confront our fears in order to embrace experimental solutions together.
When I talk about digging deeper I don’t just mean a historical lesson in the way women have been subjugated and harassed over centuries of human experience. Go ahead and google it and you’ll find that the rates of sexual harassment are horrific (1 in 3 girls will experience sexual violence in her lifetime). Add to that the realities that limit women from leadership structures (there are more male CEO’s named John than female CEO’s altogether) and power (less than 20% of political leaders are female). Just over a year ago over 19 million social media users tweeted the hashtag #metoo and spilled the whole can of beans into the public arena. And now we can’t go back. And what I mean by digging deeper is exactly that. We think the problem is sexual harassment and to be sure, it is a problem. But THE problem is way more about power than about sex. We have to dig deeper than the presenting problem to get to the root of the real problem. Once you push past the dirt of violence, harassment and sexual abuse you get to power and control. Who has the power? Who has the control? And why? We are living through the greatest shift of power the world has ever seen. Understanding and harnessing the new power for positive change in this generation will be revolutionary.
Push against familiar boundaries.
We get so tempted and in so much trouble when it comes to trying to change the relationship dynamics between men and women because of our old familiar ones. So many of us have learned the patterns of segregation as protection. Whether we are conscious of it or not we have learned to protect ourselves from difference because we are afraid of it. We accentuate what isn’t familiar and then view each other with suspicion and fear for the differences we have. Women can view men through the familiar lens of abuse and authority. Men can keep viewing women through the familiar lens of a temptress or threat. But all of this is a fear based response to difference. And every time we are motivated by fear we are engulfed into an oppressive cycle. Every single human being is different by design. We are all unique. That’s what makes us human. To view each other through the lens of fear is to always see a threat to what is familiar and comfortable for us. But what if we viewed difference through a lens of faith? Maybe what actually makes us different from each other will enhance our human experience and understanding. Maybe the creativity we are lacking and so sorely need to experience the joy and success of unity and collaboration are unlocked through our proximity. Mutuality is a whole new level of potential when it comes to collaboration. What if the way to a better future is unlocked when we figure it out together?
Confront our fears.
Leaders experience a lot of fear when it comes to collaborating with people different than themselves. Hiring and governing practices rooted in old beliefs end up segregating and limiting women (and other minorities in every sector) based on dated gender ideals and systems. And there is no hiding the realities that in this day and age, everything has changed. So rather than bury our heads in the collective sand and pretend it isn’t terrifying, the most obvious way forward is to confront our fears head on. Ask for some help. Tell the truth. Learn some new skills, try some different solutions and keep re-inventing new ways to move forward. Rather than franticly trying to fix things ‘for’ other people, the obvious first step of collaboration is to ask for their help and do it together.
Female leaders experience a lot of fear when it comes to speaking up and challenging practices and systems that have pushed against their potential and autonomy. They have paid dearly for doing so in the past. So, let’s confront those fears by embracing the truth, owning our own power and voices and offering to help shape a different future for a new world. None of this is possible without a collaborative effort. We need empowered women and men who will use their influence, in unfamiliar territory, to confront their fears and create new ways of transforming the future: together.
Written for Faith.Full by Danielle Strickland, author of Better Together.
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The issues of the disparity between men and women can break us, or they can strengthen us as a community of people in Jesus. We have to confront a brokenness that is at the heart of the way we, as opposite sexes, relate to each other. With mutuality. “What if the way to a better future is unlocked when we figure it out together?” Come share your thoughts with us on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full