My middle name is Grace and extending grace to others comes naturally to me most days. Extending grace towards myself however, it’s a whole different matter. Living life with a physical disability has taught me that patience is needed in all different shapes sizes and comes in a variety of colors. I can paint patience in all kinds of rainbows for others. With myself, I am often angry, showing up late or feeling unprepared for whatever is expected of me at work or at school. It’s all too easy to let shame get in the way of asking for what I need then shame slams straight into stuck. This pattern quickly becomes nothing gets done. As kind and supportive as professors and coworkers may want to be, “nothing gets done” is not acceptable academically or professionally. Professionally speaking, it weighs on teammates and affects our productivity as a unit. Personally, it weighs on me, leaves my integrity hanging in the air and my need for productivity unmet.
My team has been using confirmation practices for several months now. We go over them with a partner once a week and we share them once a month at our weekly team meetings. My partner and I have created a safe space for each other overtime and we both know that we have the freedom, the trust and the confidentiality established between us to be free to share and say exactly where we are with each other. It is not a therapy session or a coffee chat, it has definite structure to it. The rapport we have established gives me the safety to be bluntly honest and the self-rating structure of the confirmation practices is what leads me out of shame and stuck into productivity. We rate ourselves in terms of specific goals we have set and actions we determine for each week. We don’t rescue or fix, we listen and support. We don’t judge. The flip side of that is the blunt honesty we bring to it. The intention of our established trust is a “no BS” approach that acknowledges where we are and creates the momentum (actions) we need to get to where we want to be.
Confirmation practices is the first place in life I have discovered that low scores can be a good thing, a greatly freeing thing in fact. Being able to just say to my partner “I didn’t do that” or “I didn’t even think about that this week” and not have her blow up, disappear, or lecture me melted the shame away. Having the freedom to tell the truth is energizing! I felt 1000 pounds lifting off my shoulders and with the lightness came the energy and enthusiasm to move forward and amazingly … things are getting done with more ease now!