“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak
This quote speaks strongly of what we daily advocate in social justice education, advocacy, and activism. To grow as a community, society, and globe, we often must lean into discomfort to lean into change.
This is not always an easy task–we all have lived experiences, realities, values, and beliefs that build our reality and perception of the world around us. We may come from a place of privilege that prevents us from truly understanding the lived experience of others. While this is true, we also may have levels of privilege in some areas where in others we do not. With this, we need to practice not just hearing, but truly listening, to the needs and experiences of others. This may sometimes involve simply staying quiet and listening as well as empathizing rather than sympathizing. We can say “yes, that is your reality and what do you need to make this a place of inclusivity?” to build a community that helps us all succeed. We may never truly understand the lived experience of others, but we can listen and grow from there, not matter how hard it is to hear.