Monthly Archives: May 2020

Shared Humanity and Common Dignity

My name is Karin Fields, and I am therapist, educator, and speaker based in Gainesville, Florida.

As a mental health professional, I have had the opportunity to meet with many people in the midst of difficulty and heartbreak.  I continue to be awed by the frequency of overlap and similarities I have felt with my clients despite very different presenting circumstances, personalities, and backgrounds. The shared humanity takes my breath away and fills me with wonder . However, I have also come to recognize how different my life has been when compared to many people who have crossed my path and walked through my door. We have this shared humanity, this common dignity, yet our lived experiences are so drastically different. Why is this? What creates these differences?

The answer is certainly not straightforward. It connects to larger ideas like “nature vs. nurture”, “The American Dream”, “Survival of the Fittest”, and other narratives that have proven to be much too simple and lacking in nuance and perspective. These narratives have been used to promote some and exploit others. I have found in my work with people and my own inner work that there are three main areas that create divergent perspectives among fellow humans. I classify these areas as 1) worldview, 2) motivations, and 3) values.

Understanding the worldview, motivations, and values within ourselves leads to a greater empathy and connection to those whose worldview, motivations, and values vary significantly from our own. As I have explored this connection in depth with clients, other mental health professionals, and counseling students, I have begun to formulate a framework for helping others explore these three crucial aspects of identity and self-reference in hopes of deepening self-awareness, as well as improving relationships and increasing compassion for others. I incorporate the Enneagram through my training with The Narrative Enneagram to explore the motivations of people and how their worldview and values add to their lived experiences and the stories they tell.

At this site, I use the medium of story telling to explore these areas in hopes of promoting the dignity of all people. Through blogs, shared narratives, podcasts, and additional resources, I hope to create a space for people to share their stories, learn from the lived experiences of others, and grow in empathy and awareness. This is an especially divisive and confusing period of history we are living in. I believe a little more empathy and understanding can go a long way.