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Why Knowing Yourself Matters

October 5, 2021 @ 10:06 pm CDT

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About This Episode

(Season 2, Episode 4)

In this episode, we talk with Teresa Curtis and Jessica Jane Spayde about self-knowledge and why it’s important to practicing connection. Teresa and Jessica both work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. Teresa works on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the public health sphere. Jessica’s a sociologist doing work related to how we can create more collaborative community change.


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Voice-over: Welcome to Practicing Connection in a Complex World, a podcast exploring the personal stories and collective practices that empower us to work together, to help each other, our families, and our communities improve our resilience and readiness in a rapidly changing world. To start our conversation, here are Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch.

Jessica Beckendorf: Welcome back to the Practicing Connection in a Complex World podcast. It’s really great to be with you again after taking a few months off.

Bob Bertsch: We’re excited today to talk with Teresa Curtis and Jessica Jane Spayde about self-knowledge and why it’s important to practicing connection. Teresa and Jessica both work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. Teresa works on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the public health sphere. Jessica’s a sociologist doing work related to how we can create more collaborative community change.

Our Jessica, my co-host, Jessica Beckendorf, has been working with Jessica Spayde on the development of a program called Relational Networking, and that’s a program that Teresa has done some consulting with as well. Jessica, can you share a little bit with us about that program, because I think it sets the stage for why we’re having this conversation in the first place?

Jessica Beckendorf: Yes, it really does. That’s exactly how I even thought of talking with Jessica and Teresa and another one of our partners, Amy. One of the things that we say with this Relational Networking Program is that it’s all about relationships, it’s something that we hear over and over again, and it’s something that a lot of people seem to agree on, but when it comes to how to build relationships, that’s where we start to fall flat.

I think we have some intuition when it comes to building relationships, but what we’ve really tried to do with this program is actually break down into very practical steps and practical practices, how to build relationships, and how to do it in a way that moves us toward collaboration and addressing wicked problems.

Bob Bertsch: The program’s awesome, and I think there’s a lot of ground for us to cover, but we’re starting here in this conversation that we’ll share today with self-knowledge. How does that figure into Relational Networking?

Jessica Beckendorf: Yes. Thanks for asking that because it’s one of the foundations but is of the foundational elements, it’s probably the foundational element, because what we do is we break down the reflexive process by helping people understand how to start with knowing themselves, and what that means. We’ll talk about this more in this episode, but what does it mean to know yourself, to know yourself so well, so that when you’re interacting with other people, so that’s the second part of the reflective process is interaction.

When you’re interacting with other people and you’re listening to other people, you can actually be fully present and fully listening to the other person and practicing all of the listening skills that I think a lot of us have heard over and over again, but what you also need to be able to do is share. When you’re interacting, you also need to be able to share and to be a little bit vulnerable.

Knowing yourself really, really plays into that, but on top of that, knowing how you trust. Do you trust people first until they’ve done something to lose your trust, or do people have to earn their trust before you’ll give them any? Knowing yourself well enough that you understand your tendencies, and you can communicate your tendencies to other people is also helpful in building trusting and long-lasting collaborative relationships.

The last part to this is being able to reflect on the interactions that you’re having with people and allowing yourself to learn from them and updating your thinking. Lately, we’ve been calling it calibrating and growing. You have an interaction with somebody, later on, you reflect on it a little bit, and you allow yourself to maybe recalibrate what you were thinking, what were your preconceived notions when you went into that interaction and how did they change coming out of the interaction. That’s just one small example of all the different ways that you can collaborate.

Then really, the cycle starts over again, and it’s just this continuous thing with any kind of interaction, whether that’s one-on-one or group interaction. You really need to start with continually getting to know yourself because we all change, we have different ways that we change. Continuous improvement, I guess, and for lack of a better term, but always starting with knowing yourself.

Bob Bertsch: Let’s go ahead and get to our conversation about self-knowledge that we had with Jessica Spayde and Teresa Curtis. We started by asking what kinds of things you should try to learn about yourself. Let’s learn about ourselves, what should we learn? You’re going to hear Jessica Spayde’s answer to that first followed by Teresa and the rest of our conversation. I hope you enjoy it.

Jessica Spayde: I think about all the different things, especially about growing up, because I have a little worksheet about the positionality worksheet that we haven’t fully utilized yet, but it’s a list of all these questions about thinking about how did you grow up. What type of neighborhood did you grow up in? What kind of house did you grow up in? What type of family did you grow up in?

Even just those three examples, it’s like, what type of house did you grow up in? How did you feel about people who had different types of houses than you? How do you now feel today as an adult? How do you feel about people who have similar or different types of houses than when you grew up with?

Trying to like unpack maybe some of that more unconscious or subconscious thinking in terms of, just like biases that maybe you were conditioned or socialized to have as a child, unpacking that now that if you grew up in a small house or maybe a house that you were ashamed of, or that you could never invite friends over, and then you were always– and maybe your parents said things like, “Oh, those people with that ridiculously gaudy house or something.” It socialized you into thinking that having a big house or having some ostentatious or whatever house was inherently a bad thing.

Now as an adult, maybe you have a middle-class house that you feel like you can invite people over to and everything, but you still have this like condition what you were conditioned to think as a kid of like, “Oh, maybe there’s something wrong with me now that I have this nice house,” or when I’m in a community working with other community leaders and then somebody says, “Oh, I live in such and such neighborhood or the golf course neighborhood,” or whatever, you automatically have this response of, “Oh, what’s wrong with them?” Or like, “That’s a bad thing that they live in that house.”

This is just one example, but trying to– you might not even realize you’re having that thought with somebody today in your community unless you unpack some of that about where that came from, and maybe even relate to specific things, and I can literally think of specific things my mother said about other people in our community that still comes to mind when I’m like, “Oh, I don’t want to be that type of person.”

Knowing yourself is really just connecting and remembering some of those things that you’ve been conditioned and socialized to think and believe and feel about yourself and others is so huge because it can really explain the ways in which you react to or show up into a space and how you act with others.

Teresa Curtis: I think a lot about being curious about how we think and believe and feel in terms of where we grew up. My assumption that when I was little, that those things were normal, that that was how everybody grew up. I grew up in a series of small towns, so things were pretty homogenous.

One of the things I have learned to do is question if what I experienced is what other people experienced and to do that in a way that is nonjudgmental. One of the values, and this is not true in all small towns, but in my small town, and also in my family, was fear of difference so that it was important to blend in so that you didn’t stick out in your small town.

I’ve had to be very curious about how that affects how I see the world and how, for a long time, I interacted with people. I had to figure out my own level of curiosity and my comfort and discomfort as I was getting to know myself, so I could know others, people who had backgrounds different than my own, so I could have a more real relationship with them.

Jessica Beckendorf: It’s easy to rarely or never reflect on these things as we go along in our lives I think because– the consequences, though, is that we almost have these immediate barriers to trust that are ingrained in us that we may not be aware of. Since we started utilizing the reflective process in some of our programming, I really started to think a lot about almost all of my decisions when it comes to purchases, for instance. I know that’s such a weird, easy one to do, but I had a realization this morning actually before we started talking, and I have a friend that’s always trying to convince me that she has these expensive creams and stuff that she uses on her face. I’m always like, “I don’t need that stuff. I don’t need it.”

I realized this morning because I had something gifted to me that’s really expensive. I realized this morning that because it works really well, I’m like, “Well, okay. Why is my attitude always like, no, no, absolutely not, I don’t need that.” It has to do with what I learned about money growing up. I know this is such an easy one to talk about. There’s a lot of others that are a lot more sensitive to talk about. This is something that I learned about myself, over the years, and I didn’t realize it extended to creams and personal care products, but it really does. I thought it just meant I have a hard time asking for more money, for instance, in a job or for going for jobs that pay high.

I figured out a long time ago that that has a little to do or a lot to do with this attitude I had and my parents had growing up about people who make more money. It’s just this overall they’re a bad kind of idea. They have it all and they shouldn’t for some reason. Now, I’ve been questioning a lot of the decisions I make, and I’ve been trying to go back and ask, like, “What do I know about myself from this attitude that I have?” Usually, it’s an attitude for me. It’s an attitude or a feeling that I have about a thing that makes me go back and think about it.

Jessica Spayde: That’s a fun example just even the creams because I’m thinking about the way I grew up. My mom, I can remember her saying, she probably would still say something like this, but specific things about not only is there the sentiment about spending money on things like that. That not only is spending money on yourself for these superfluous or whatever the word is but for these unnecessary things, not only is that bad because who has the money to spend money on that stuff. It’s also bad to try to or putting this in quotes, what I was trained to think is it’s bad to spend money on trying to make yourself beautiful in a fake way.

I feel there’s almost this light of spending money on this luxurious cream is similar to getting plastic surgery or something. It’s along that line of thinking in terms of like, “No, I’m fine. I don’t need that because–” In some ways, it could be a very healthy, wonderful thought of like, “I’m beautiful just the way I am.” Maybe it’s along those lines, but yes, this is the knowing yourself for me is about, it’s unpacking some of that.

It’s like, what’s the problem, or what was problematized for me as a kid or throughout my life, or by people that I respect or authority figures throughout my life? What has been presented as a problem and how does that affect the way that I think about my purchases or other people or myself even today? It can help us just be more reflective, I guess, as I keep thinking through why do I say things, or why do I get nervous about certain things? Why do I have these automatic responses to like, “No, I don’t need that cream”?

Unless you start to try to unpack that, you don’t even know why you’re having that response and really why you’re not open to this idea because in a way, it’s a way of saying it’s an excuse to be closed-minded, I guess, to fall back on the things that we were taught and the ways that we were taught to think. It’s this excuse or this automatic, “No, I don’t do that. I’m not that type of person.” I see knowing yourself is like step one in terms of opening your mind of, “Why do I have those sorts– oh, I have this physical and like natural response to like, no, that’s not me,” and being able to give yourself that space and permission to unpack it a little bit and say like, “Why do I do that?”

Knowing that’s uncomfortable to dig into your own psyche or whatever because Jessica said a minute ago, the idea of that it’s– what did you say that it’s like we don’t often think intentionally about these, or it’s easy not to think about it. I think the opposite is true that like it’s actually very hard to intentionally think about these things and hard not only mentally, just the mental gymnastics you have to go through, but the emotionally and literally–

I have a physical response sometimes to thinking about things, especially for my childhood and stuff. I get sweaty, I get like nervous. Sometimes it’ll put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day because I have an emotional response is digging back into some of that. It’s like just being in touch with all that and knowing that, yes, this is a hard thing to do, which it sounds so simple. Know yourself, right? No, it’s actually really hard.

Teresa Curtis: Some of the thoughts that come up when you’re talking about developing those awareness’s, as I wonder, what situations happened so that you were able to do that break because to do it on your own, to be like, “Today, I am going to sit down, and I’m going to think about my values.” I don’t think that’s how it works for most people. That is absolutely not how it ever worked for me.

Generally, for me, it was, I would find myself in a place where I was away from the type of spaces where I grew up or that I was currently living in. I was somehow out of my element and surrounded by people in places that were out of my norm, and there was a lot of internal dialogue happening so that I could adjust. That’s when that curiosity, it wasn’t like a luxury, it was a must-have.

Then trying to find ways to others. I have to figure out where my– I refer to it as a U-Haul. I have to figure out what are the boxes in my U-Haul. I need to know what those are so that when I am having a discussion, a conversation, some relationship with somebody else, I can be like, “Oh, here are the boxes in my U-Haul, please do not kick them. I’ll move them around a little bit.” I think that’s what a relationship is.

Somebody else is like, “Here are the boxes in my U-Haul, if you really could not kick that one, that would be great. See the ones that are marked fragile, you know?” I think for some of us, we have to be in a different situation versus staying where it feels comfortable all the time. I think there is a measure of required discomfort that comes before the self-exploration.

Jessica Spayde: I’m thinking about this too, Teresa, in terms of, what were the situations that helped you think about this? I think I’ve talked with friends about this even recently. Sometimes, unfortunately, when you grow up in a situation where there’s trauma, that there’s a lot of different trauma responses, and one of my personal responses to trauma as a child was to basically intellectualize things, to sit back and think and try to analyze it and just say like, “What is happening here?”

The more I’ve learned about childhood psychological development and stuff is I realized that I was in a certain stage of– because of the age I was at and like that, this was actually easier for me to analyze. Even my sisters who were at different ages had very different responses. It was easier for one of my sisters to ignore and pretend. It was easier for one of my sisters to get angry and walk away at a different way, but for me, I sat in it and tried to think and tried to figure out how to make it better and how to make it not happen again and things like that.

In some ways, the beauty of this is that by helping unpack some of this or helping to understand myself and like why I am the way I am, which honestly, psychologists really helped with this is just going to therapy and stuff, but I realized that’s one of my gifts that I like bringing to the world now, is like being able to unpack things and being able to think through and finding that and having that almost as like my safe space, when things are crazy is like, “I need to take a step back here and think about it,” and that it grounds me. It helps me think through what’s happening and it helps me feel confident for my next step.

Teresa was talking about going to new spaces or having different environments that you’re exposed to, and I think about that, growing up, going to college, away from home where I didn’t know anybody, and then doing a few different study abroad situations that I put myself in several of these situations where I was exposed to a whole new world and very uncomfortable.

If you are able to do that in a way where you can stay a little bit grounded or where you feel confident that you have the skills to navigate that situation, then that can be this wonderful good thing, but then I also think about people even just thinking about the study abroad example. You definitely have students that go on study abroad that don’t have the tools, people go home because they’re just like, “I can’t do it.” You have these situations where people don’t feel confident and that same opportunity for me was an opportunity to open and reflect and expand, but for some other people, that was too much of an opportunity, they had to go home.

I was thinking about that in terms of like, I feel like I have purposely put myself, and it sounds like maybe, Teresa, you have too, in situations where you feel that discomfort where you have to reflect and you have to think. For me, I always have felt like and I still do, I love just going to new things or things that might make me uncomfortable. I’m like, “Oh, let’s go check it out, and that’s fun.”

It’s like, there are people who– and I think about taking this back to the Relational Networking, the program that we’re creating, and for me and where I work, the ideal audience are people who are in positions of power in my county, so elected officials and people who have decision-making power basically, but they are also the people who don’t necessarily want to sign up for a training on relational networking.

This idea of having this drive of like, “I need to put myself in these uncomfortable situations so that I can learn more about myself and the world,” is not necessarily the drive everybody has, but it is something that I find that I feel like we all need. This gets me back to this idea of, who’s predisposed to seek these situations and why, and how do we also reach or teach and work with people who are not predisposed to these experiences or seeking these experiences?

I think about it in terms of about privilege and it’s like, depending on your privilege in society, you may have never had to be in a situation where you’re uncomfortable. That’s not something that you are seeking. That’s not something that is exciting or even sounds necessary for you, but then some of us from an early age have been constantly put in situations where we’ve been uncomfortable. Then we learn from that, we adapt. You learn to love that maybe, and then you keep going down that path, you’re like, “Oh, well, this makes me a better person, and this actually adds to my skill set.”

Bob Bertsch: I think that’s really important. I’m glad you brought up privilege. There’s a couple of things that I think it’s important that just to note. One is that, those of us with privilege might have a different reaction to these uncomfortable situations. I think of disorienting dilemmas that’s Mezirow’s term from transformative learning. You start to transform when you have a disorienting dilemma, but some people live in disorientation and uncomfortableness all the time.

I think it’s just I don’t have a path to follow on that. I think it’s just important to recognize that, that as privileged people, we can choose to seek out disorienting dilemmas, let me put it that way, and it’s not our space all the time. That might not be a path for everybody to start that path of knowing yourself better, is to seek out those disorienting dilemmas.

The other thing I want to bring it back to ask you guys about was, what is the start? If I’m not that person, I’m not that person who’s seeking out disorienting dilemmas, that I haven’t had to be uncomfortable, is that where you guys suggest people start exploring themselves is to just put yourself in those situations, or is there other places to go?

Jessica Spayde: I was just thinking I love the term disorienting dilemmas too because maybe that is a starting point, or sorry, dilemmas, or anything that is perceived as a disorienting dilemma, it can be a starting point. Even people in positions of privilege who have never really had to experience some of the maybe more fundamental disorienting dilemmas as other people, they are still disoriented and find dilemmas in the world, so maybe those are the starting points of conversation.

I do have some community leaders that I work with, I talk to regularly, and I realize I do this even almost every conversation I have with them. They’ll say something and I’m like, “Oh, I don’t understand,” or “Oh, can you believe that somebody did so-and-so or whatever,” or basically judging something that happened in their community.

I will just take a moment to ask them more questions about it. Like, “Oh, have you talked to them about, and did you ask why they did it that way? Is that somebody you know really well? Oh, is that somebody you could get to know better?” and, “Oh, well I tried. I called him once.” Or like, “Oh, well, have you ever met face-to-face, or have ever tried to just have a conversation with them?” Or just really trying to ask them questions in a way that puts them in a place where they want to learn more because it hasn’t occurred to them maybe yet to try to learn more. Because of your privilege, you are allowed to just sit and judge and be like, “Oh yes, why are they doing it that way? Okay, I would never do it that way,” then move on with their life, but maybe those little disorientations are an opening.

Jessica Beckendorf: I just want to add to that, Jess, because what you’re saying sounds really simple. It is simple to ask people questions, but I run a leadership development program, and I have all kinds of people. It’s not just people in business suits that are new executives, or just new at their company coming through my program.

I have all kinds of people, and frankly, all walks of life, it doesn’t matter if you are blue-collar, white-collar or no-collar, I don’t know, t-shirt. It doesn’t matter what kind of role you have for a career, or for a job, everyone seems to be at different levels in this kind of growth. I just wanted to point out that what you’re doing, I could just hear someone listening. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I could hear someone listening and thinking, “Oh well, that sounds so easy,” but really, does it work? Actually, yes.

One example is, I had one person go through my class, and this has happened with more than one person, but I’m thinking of him and particular. He went through my class and we got to this portion where we were talking about privilege. He had never thought about privilege before in terms other than money. I think a lot of people, it’s easy to think about privilege in terms of money, but he had never thought about any other kind of privilege. I had everyone take two.

Two of those, the Harvard Project Implicit, I think it’s called. I had them take the one on age because I thought that would be an easy one for us to talk about in class. Then I said, “You could do any other one of your choice. We’re not going to talk about that one, that’s just for you.” I don’t know if you guys know how many Project Implicit tests there are. He did all of them, and he came to me, and he didn’t want to talk about any of them because I offered. He came to me, he was like, “Jessica, I did all of those.” I said, “What, first of all?” He said, “It was so eye-opening. I had no idea how I like internally felt about different groups. It’s just so, so eye-opening.”

Seeing that face to face, seeing where he had some implicit bias, I think, was his disorienting dilemma, and he realized he had to do something. He committed himself to that class, like 200%. I don’t know why I chose 180%, but he committed himself to that class more fully than anyone that I ever have. I tell you, I’ve done that class several times, and I often have people who are hit with this, they almost feel attacked.

When I do it, I try to do this in the gentlest way possible. We’re talking about age, we’re not talking about other things. Yes, it happens, and people can’t get into that space of seeking out disorienting dilemmas, because that was his first one where he was like, “Whoa, there’s a whole world out there. I need to like do different or do better.”

Teresa Curtis: When we’re talking about privilege and we’re talking about all these different identities, first, I think it’s important to recognize that I am a Caucasian woman, and I am talking to two other Caucasian women, also a Caucasian male. There are identities that are majoritized and have been throughout history. It’s not just race or ethnicity, but also religion. We’ve talked a little bit about socioeconomic status, we can talk about education, we can talk about sexuality and gender identity. We can go across the wheel.

Throughout history and present today, there are identities that are majoritized and those that have been minoritized. I use that verb form because it is very action or there is an action behind it. When we talk about it, there are some people whose identities have been minoritized and they are constantly trying to manage the majority in the world. They don’t need to go outside of their realm to feel uncomfortable because they’re already in it in many ways.

Understanding not only our own personal values and what we feel and believe, but that there is this larger system at play. Being aware of that, I think, is really important in order to know ourselves and to have a relationship if your intent is to connect on a real level with somebody to acknowledge that these things exist and what other people’s experiences might be as having as well.

When I think about some of the people that– Jessica and Jessica, I’ve heard you talk about who you work with. People aren’t always interested in investigating that, and it doesn’t mean we have to go abroad to experience some of these things. Those implicit bias tests are powerful, and it immediately confronts you with– well, I will say the first time I took many of them, I was like, “Oh, I just need to be faster.” Then in terms of intellectualizing like, “How valid is this tool? Oh, it’s really valid. Yes.”

There’s a whole lot of games that we can play with ourselves, and I think it’s important to recognize that we have individual choices that we can make to know ourselves and be more open and be curious and that there’s lots of history. This isn’t just an individual choice, that there are factors at play that we are influenced by.

Jessica Beckendorf: Teresa, you mentioned if we want to connect with others, that this is really important, and you mentioned a couple of things that bring me back to this idea of a lot of times with the groups that I’m working with in community is they have– if a group comes together about something, it’s because they’re trying to solve a problem. I have the hardest time getting them to commit to just getting to know each other better first and getting to know as a group, who are we going to be together? We’re not just a collection of individuals. We’re also a unit that is going to be working together on whatever issue it is for a long time, possibly for years.

What everyone wants to do when they get to the table is like, okay, solution, solution, solution. We need to just get right down to brass tacks, whatever the terms are. I don’t even know what that means, honestly, but yes, they just want to get down to like, okay, here’s a whole bunch of solutions, Jessica, you’re going to do this part of it, we’re going to do this part, and break. We all go do our thing. We come back and we give updates to each other. It just goes on like that.

There’s groups that I’ve worked with that it can feel very clunky for a long time. Now, would it be less clunky if we got to know each other first? I don’t know, because we don’t take the time. We didn’t take the time to do it. It’s possible that it would be clunky because maybe there’s past things that keep us from trusting each other and we just need to keep working at it. My point is the reason we’re talking about knowing yourself is, I’m going to move into a little bit, is talk about why it’s important to know ourselves, right? It’s about connecting with others and why is it important to connect with others from your points of view.

Jessica Spayde: That what life is all about, that’s the good stuff in life. That’s why. I say that laughing because I really do believe it. I think it sounds corny, though, but it was like, honestly, yes. When you think about what is it in life that you enjoy, and for me, the answer is my connections with people and having those deep connections.

What I’ve done a lot of or spent a lot of time thinking about is what does connection mean or unpacking that even, both academically but also personally. It’s like, what is a good connection? What’s a deep connection? What’s a meaningful connection? What’s one that brings value to my life, and then also what’s one that can make our collaborative groups more productive ideally? What’s ones that can actually create change in a community? What are the connections that you need to transform a group of people into a group of– thinking about superheroes, like Avengers or something? What’s that magic does that takes them to that next level to like, we can save the world thinking.

I think it’s those connections. It’s like that we have to have these wonderful, these actual deep connections with each other. Then things like getting stuff done is so much easier because then you’re like, yes, if you have this group of people who knows each other and has these deeper connections, then as soon as there is something that’s like, “Oh, here’s an idea in our community that we need to run with,” that group of people can make stuff happen so fast.

I think lots of people or community leaders that I’ve worked with have examples of that of a group of people who can make things happen. The way that they think about it, when I start asking more, it’s really about having a bunch of power in the room is what makes things happen. Having somebody who’s on the school board, somebody from a bank, somebody on the county board, and somebody who’s just independently wealthy or whatever that can donate buddy, somebody from the biggest business in town. That’s what they think of when they think of a group of people that can get things done.

I think about a group of people, and then you read about and talk to community organizers and stuff. You’re like, “No, this grassroots actually making connections, there’s something with that too.” I guess in a way, I want to merge the two. How do you make this group of powerful people who have the money and the influence that are in our community to get things done? How do you get them to have really deep connections and trust with each other so that they want to get things done, but for the whole community and they are also not an exclusive group? They’re inclusive.

Teresa Curtis: When I think about connection, I just think about I connect with people because I love learning, and there wouldn’t be any– if I had to be stuck inside my own head with only the things I know, that’s not interesting in any way. I think about all the things that I learn from people, and Jessica, you mentioned there’s a level of trust there. In order for that learning to happen, there has to be, depending on the level of learning we’re talking about, there has to be that trust, and there is a level of vulnerability in connecting with somebody else and sharing how you see things and running the risk of them not seeing it that way and not being okay with it.

If I think about a bunch of people in the room who were trying to get things accomplished, there are many different ways of doing things. If we are open to multiple ways of doing things, we have more resources at our hands, like more options. The idea of not connecting with people just seems so unfulfilling, like that dead space where I just didn’t say anything. That’s what it feels like. Why would I do that?

I think there is just so much richness in connection, but not just richness in connecting with people who think and have experiences the same as you, but there is richness in difference. There is all this learning that can happen and ways of seeing. I think for me, that’s the value is understanding things from different perspectives because I might not have thought about a specific approach if I’ve not met this person over here who shared with me this experience that they have. That’s why I like to connect.


Jessica Beckendorf: We’re going to pause our conversation right there for now. We’ll continue the conversation on our next episode when we’ll talk with Jessica and Theresa about some things we can try to get started on our journey towards self-knowledge.

Bob Bertsch: You can check out our show notes for some great downloads that will help you reflect on the personal and social identities talked about during this episode, and you can find the show notes by going to and clicking Practicing Connection in a Complex World.

Jessica Beckendorf: Thanks so much for joining us for this co-created episode of Practicing Connection in a Complex World. Thanks to our co-creators, Jessica Jane Spayde and Teresa Curtis, for their generosity, trust, and collaboration. We’d also like to thank our announcer Kalin Goble, Hannah Hyde, and Terry Meisenbach for helping us with promotion, and Nathan Grim for composing and performing all the music you hear on the podcast.

Bob Bertsch: Thanks to you for listening. Keep practicing.


[00:45:09] [END OF AUDIO]


October 5, 2021
10:06 pm CDT
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Practicing Connection Podcast