EP31 “I want to own your pain” – with Shari Foos

“It’s a profound thing to offer an apology. An apology is not dependent on forgiveness and has no excuses. An apology is me humbly coming to you and saying, “Oh, I see that I’ve hurt you; that I was inappropriate in some way.” And by the way, I may not have intended to hurt you. I may not even agree that it was something for which you should feel hurt. But that’s not the concern of the apology. The apology is merely recognizing that you feel hurt based on something I did or said. I want to own own your pain, and apologize for it” – Shari Foos 

To kick things off this year, we have with us Shari Foos, Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of The Narrative Method. 

Shari’s point of view on inclusion was honed while studying Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. The program was conceived as a way to teach empathy to doctors. “There was a huge perspective about social justice, and what does it mean for someone to speak for a patient and you can extrapolate that to what does it mean for anyone to tell someone else’s story. And so I have always been a big fan of the group process since I was a teenager, when I was depressed and found myself in group therapy. And what was so powerful that and I see to this day is that as important as one-on-one relationships are, they cannot simulate a good family the way a group can. And when everyone is nodding, because they understand what you’re saying, you feel normal, you feel good, you feel you belong. So that’s why I decided to take all of the work I had done, and create a group process where people could have meaningful conversations, without small talk, based on inspirational art, or videos or music or something that evokes a prompt, and then they’ll go into smaller groups and discuss those prompts. Or in the case of writing groups, they write about them.” – Shari Foos 

Here’s some of what Susan and Rohini discuss with Shari

“We’re natural storytellers, based on the professional lines that we have chosen (as marketers and PR leaders), but our ‘why’ came from a personal and painful experience and the urge to make sure that doesn’t happen to somebody else, or the urge, perhaps for somebody else to learn from the hard soul searching work that we had done” 

– Rohini Mukherji 3:53  

“What Shari said about that “squeaky wheel” kid usually being the creative kid stood out for me. I have a 10 year old daughter and she’s definitely curious and challenging. She’s very, very creative. I say often, well you’re lucky, you’re in the right place to be that squeaky wheel. I’m listening closely because I want to encourage that creativity. Because for me, the environment was much more “Don’t ask too many questions. Be seen and not heard.” The person who’s telling a story is being brave. How do we make make them more comfortable?”

-Susan Diaz  8:03 

For that and more on empathy, apologies, creating safe spaces. Listen to the episode!

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