Ep. 2 Building Lifelines with Relational Equity

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From Wounds to Scars to Beauty Marks - by Dr. Octavious Bishop
From Wounds to Scars to Beauty Marks
Ep. 2 Building Lifelines with Relational Equity

Ep. 2 Building Lifelines with Relational Equity

Hello!! I’m Dr. Bishop, and thank you for joining on the, “From Wounds to Scars to Beauty Marks” podcast. Poor communication, or a lack of communication is at the core of the discord we face today.

Our limbic systems, the emotional regulator, and manager of our brains have been high jacked by poor communication. It is no secret that communication is difficult for most people, from time to time during our lives. Misunderstanding becomes the outcome of communication issues. When we are misunderstood, we either retreat in silence, become defensive, or in most cases surround ourselves with voices, belief systems, and in some cases connect with those whom as superficial as it sounds, look like us. This makes total sense to me. It is exhausting to work through different communication challenges with our families, friends, colleagues at work, simply driving in traffic, posting, and responding on social media, or with strangers who oppose our perception of the world we are so blessed to live in.

Communication is hard, and there are no two brains alike. Our minds can be compared to a blank white canvas that never ends, and we have been blessed by God with paint brushes, that fit every crease in our hands. The colors of the paint were chosen specifically for each of us. This is a blessing but poses a problem to those trying to understand the flow, rhythm, and art of communication.

Communication is a metacontextual process, meaning that, understanding the context of a conversation is crucial, for communication. It’s important to consider the cultural and situational aspects that impact how we communicate and adjust our message accordingly. This includes using language, tone and body language while also being aware of the norms and expectations in communication settings. By practicing communication, we can enhance our interactions, with others and make them more meaningful.

Today we will assess relational equity with a focus on our faith, our families, and interpersonally. The significance of this topic is to avoid taking any political stance on specific topics, or what we each deem to be our “truth.” But, to hopefully help us all gauge our emotions, and practice bridging our discourse, to allow for more true, authentic, and genuine dialogue in these most difficult times.

Relational Equity and Faith

The Bible doesn’t mention “equity” explicitly. It offers advice, on building and nurturing positive connections, with people. It stresses the significance of showing love, respect, fairness, and honesty towards others.

Matthew 7:12 (NIV): “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

As a Christian I sin daily. Addressing our character defects has been, and at times becomes exhausting. Following the teaching of Christ in my own life is a humbling, and intimate journey. See, intimacy breeds temporary instability. It is the instability of my character that draws me to the grace and love of Jesus Christ. The relational equity that Jesus expressed in his teachings all the way to his death on the cross, provides us with a model of relational equity that is so needed regarding the political, and societal challenges we face in 2024.

When our relationships are merely transactional, our focus is the transaction, and lose the purpose of our faith journey. This leads to the local church falling into the trap of competition, rather than collaboration. Envy, jealously, and gossip intrudes on the hardwiring of our brains, leaving us the inability to partner and join in unity to expand the message and teaching of Jesus Christ. I dream of churches tackling the ills of our society. What if we could come together from every denomination and commit to ending homeless in our cites? This would be amazing! This would require relational equity amongst the churches. Some churches have more money than others. Some churches have more talent. Some churches are in better locations than others to address specific issues. See, we have allowed our brains to become hardwired by the business plan of the church, rather than expanding the unlimited colors and paint brushes God has given us. Our minds. To close the gap between our superficial nature and begin to nurture the blessing of connectedness amongst Christians we must become deliberate, and intentional about cultivating relational equity within faith communities.

Relational Equity and Family

There are some many wounds that have turned to scars and into beauty marks in my life that I pinch myself from time to time. I must admit that the wounds from my past can be summed with the question so many of us who may not have received the affirmation from our childhood we feel we should have received. Well, feelings are fickle. Meaning they change with the wind. I am thankful for every challenge I had growing up today. This has not always been the case, but I cannot deny that I live a beautiful life despite the challenges of my early life. I know today that my mother with all of her challenges loved and believed in me. Though there was a 25-year gap being in the presence of my father, today our relationship could not be better. I am witnessing the relational equity between him and his wife who is recovering from a stroke, and it is beautiful to witness the depths of his love and care for her.

My mother is my biggest fan and dare you to say anything about me to her. Life is interesting, and I am so blessed to have both my parents alive and well. I have made a choice to embrace relational equity as they age, and I am the beneficiary of their love at 48 years old.

I went to consult with a really good mentor and friend of mine, about my challenges as a husband and father. I begin verbally expressing all my challenges, fears, and concerns about raising my kids in a privileged community, much different than how I was raised. After I had spoken and got everything out, he looked at me and simply said, “no one in your home grew up in your circumstances, or situation. It’s wrong for us place expectations on your family, knowing they will never have your experience.”

This was the beginning of my journey educating myself about the importance of cultivating relational equity in my home.

We must understand that marriage, parenting, and supporting family members is never a fifty, fifty split. See, each person brings one hundred percent of what themselves to the family table, but what we each bring depending on the season we are in may seem proportionally different. We are who are based on how our lives defined through our family first, and then live life begins. To give relational equity to people outside of our homes, before practicing relational equity inside our homes will ultimately lead to resentment. Resentment comes when grace is not a fundamental principle of spouses, relationship between parent and child, and amongst siblings.

Relational Equity Interpersonally

In relationships, relational fairness involves maintaining a sense of equality and harmony. It’s about treating everyone involved with respect, trust and fairness while ensuring that power and resources are shared fairly. There must be an understanding that everyone no matter their circumstances share power, preference, and privilege at some level in multiple aspects of their lives. For example, wealth does not always produce a sustained since of happiness. I love hearing the stories of old-timers who grew up poor but express how they never knew they were poor because they were some happy and loved during their younger years.

Here are three keyways to promote relational equity in relationships.

1. Mutual Respect; Show kindness and consideration to others of their differing views, backgrounds, or identities. Value the attributes and contributions of each person creating an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.

2. Respecting Boundaries; Honor boundaries. Establish your own boundaries clearly. Respect the limits and preferences of others while also communicating your boundaries respectfully.

3. Conflict Resolution; Handle conflicts in an manner. Strive to comprehend the underlying issues and emotions of all parties. Aim for a resolution that benefits everyone involved by considering their needs and viewpoints.

Nurturing fairness in relationships requires dedication, empathy well as a commitment, to justice and equilibrium. By giving importance to these principles individuals can nurture relationships based on trust, respect, and mutual comprehension.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

I sincerely, thank you for joining the “From Wounds to Scars to Beauty Marks Podcast.”

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