Responding to Violence & Videos

Jan 30, 2023

How are we responding to Friday's video?

Do you know what video I am referring to? If you check any news source, you will find a horrendous display of a complete lack of humanity. The violent acts of the five Memphis police officers on one person are so disproportionate it can’t even begin to be justified.

When George Floyd was murdered, many responded with outrage. Some claimed it was a bad act by one man. But there was also Freddie Grey, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis, Andre Hill, Daunte Wright, Atatiana Jefferson, and many more. These are not singular bad acts - they are evidence of a systemic problem in our country.

These aren’t the only examples of a growing issue with violence. There have been more mass shootings this year than there are days of the year with 40 in just three weeks. All of them at the hands of men with guns. Add to these the growing number of domestic abuses, assaults, and murders by as much as 25 to 33% according to The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, who refers to it as a “shadow pandemic”. Not to mention, the massive increase of teen suicide and school shootings we’ve seen in recent years.

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What do we do when this happens?

What do businesses and workplaces do?

Do they ignore it, pretend it’s not impacting employees?

Do they address it, talk about it, provide support resources?

Do they recognize the impact all of these situations are having on people?

The growing level of stress, fear, anger, sadness, and outrage at such acts of violence. While some companies have begun addressing and responding to these issues with at least a public statement, most remain silent. Historically, workplaces have considered what happens outside the workplace to be irrelevant to the workplace. They couldn’t be more wrong.

People everywhere are impacted by one or all of the different examples of increasing violence, whether we recognize it or not. When we ignore the incidents, we send a message the problem is not ours to address or our responsibility to mitigate the effects on our people. Instead, workplaces would do well to create open dialogue, understand how their people are feeling in response to these events, and offer support and resources to navigate them through the challenges. Just as I shared in my article about the Roe v. Wade decision, I believe when workplaces play an active role, they can make a significant impact by appropriately supporting their people.

What about each of us individually?

What do we do as individuals?

How do we stop the violence that continues to permeate this country?

How do we deal with the impact it has on us, our lives, families, & communities?

As a mother, as a human being, I’m compelled to, at a minimum, speak out on such an incredibly important issue. Whether you agree with my statements or not, I believe the dialogue is what is most important. Having conversations everywhere in our homes, workplaces, and communities about the changes necessary to address these challenges. We can’t point our fingers and hope someone else steps up to address the problem. Instead, we each have to bring our own expertise and awareness together to help solve the problems we are facing today.  

What do we need to discuss?

We need to begin addressing the potential root issues creating all these violent outcomes. When we express outrage at the individual actions but fail to discuss or create lasting change, we become complicit in the problem. Whether as individuals, workplaces, schools, or communities, we each have the ability to consider, discuss, and identify possible solutions to these problems. We need to be discussing what might be the root cause and then work to implement changes to address it.

What is the root cause?

Based upon my experience and research, I feel strongly our physiology and emotions are at least one of the root causes of these issues with violence. The violent behavior and the shocking acts committed are just what we see on the surface. The real source lives deep down below. Down where our bodies have hardwired responses based upon our life experiences. They exist in our nervous systems and the neurons in our head, hearts, and guts.

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How does this work?

As we live our lives, our experiences get programmed into us. We develop patterns and beliefs based on those experiences that create reactions in our bodies. When we have an experience, it can then trigger our autonomic nervous system and our fight, flight, freeze response. A part of this response is based upon an underlying emotion like anger or fear. When we have an emotion, this causes us to feel something which then causes us to think something and ultimately creates behaviors and actions.

For example, take a person who experienced excessive violence growing up from their parents or caregivers. Left unaddressed, their fear and anger from that experience gets buried in their system. They learn that they must respond to resistance with anger or violence (just as they experienced from their parents). Their bodies are reacting to protect themselves from the fear of being hurt. Maybe this person is bullied in school and ultimately decides to end their life (and fear) by taking others with them. Or maybe this person grows up, decides they will become a police officer so no one can ever hurt them again. When a suspect resists, their nervous system is triggered. Since they haven’t learned how to manage their emotions, they respond with violence and aggression just as their body was programmed to do.

Why hasn't this been addressed?

Without awareness from training and coaching on what is taking place within our bodies, we continue to act in ways that can be destructive. Despite my many years of education and certifications, it wasn’t until the last few years I finally began to truly recognize my own emotions and work to reprogram behaviors from their root source. Only in recent years have we seen a rising recognition of the importance of emotional intelligence and begun to incorporate it into education and training.

What can we do?

If we really want to do something about the violence we see in the world today, we can start by addressing emotions.

  1. First, we must work on our own behaviors and understand the root emotions that we’ve programmed in our minds and bodies.
  2. Then, we must look for opportunities to expand this understanding to others. Schools must incorporate this training into their curriculums. Workplaces are probably the best equipped to have the biggest impact by incorporating this into their workplace performance practices.

Positively, the benefits of increasing emotional intelligence are well-documented and widespread. When individuals are better able to recognize, manage, and express their emotions, they are less reactive, more productive, have greater health outcomes, better performance, and are overall happier. The investment more than pays for itself in better outcomes for the business, let alone the impact it can have on families and our communities.

Looking for a solution?

One challenge I struggled with when it came to emotional intelligence was truly being able to know how I was doing and what emotions I was experiencing. Understanding emotions when we haven’t been previously exposed can be hard. It can be difficult to have training make even a small dent in our progress unless we can understand what is happening inside us. Which is why when I discovered the voice recognition technology that provides an objective measure of my emotions, I was thrilled.

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With this technology, I can objectively measure my emotional intelligence overall and my self-awareness, self-management, self-expression, and empathy. I can see the level of emotions that give me positive energy and the level of emotions that drain my energy. This allows me to address issues and grow my emotional intelligence on a daily basis as I have life experiences that create emotion. This knowledge coupled with effective neuroscience-based coaching is what can truly transform our behaviors.

Just imagine what a difference this could make to the child being bullied or the police officer who has never addressed his own childhood experiences. I truly believe it could change the outcome of so many instances of violence today. Emotional Intelligence isn’t a “nice to have” skillset  it is an essential skill necessary for coping with our experiences in the world.

If you would like to try out our new Evolving You App with this voice recognition technology that will dive deep into helping you understand and practice deeper self-awareness, you can check that out here:

Or watch this video:

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