Consciously Incompetent

Not just a tongue twister, but a pretty graph too!

I’m doing so much subconscious processing at the moment it’s exhausting! First we had George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, now we have J.K.Rowling and a discussion of Trans and Autistic rights. Everything just feels like it has been thrown up in the air, jiggled about a bit, then the pieces have fallen back to earth and I’m scattering about trying to make sense of them. I’m a well educated, well read, quite intelligent person and I feel like a toddler trying to make sense of my ABCs!

As I was reflecting on this (at far too early in the morning to be awake, let alone reflecting!) a memory made me giggle. When I was training to be a Music Therapist, we were introduced to the Four Stages of Competence model. We all had a good laugh about how we were all consciously incompetent, as our training felt very similar to my analogy above. We had entered the course as expert musicians in our own fields, and within weeks we realised we knew so little of what music could be. I’m glad to say, 18 months later at our graduations we laughed about how maybe we were consciously competent at least now.

I feel right back at consciously incompetent right now. I feel like I’ve been unconsciously incompetent up until now, thinking I was a good ally, that I knew all there was to know about loving minorities and supporting others. I thought my good intentions would be recognised and my well meaning words understood.

I didn’t know that in retweeting posts I thought were sensible I could be adding to the pain of those discriminated against in ways I couldn’t have understood. I didn’t know that in repeating cliches I was saving myself from having to think any harder about what I actually thought. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know, But now I do.

Life is a journey, and I’m absolutely ok with knowing there is a lot I don’t know, because I know I’m commited to learning. I hope to become unconsciously competent, of course I do. But I also know I have a long way to go before I’m there, and the road is going to be a hard one. I’m going to make mistakes, I’m going to change my mind, I’m going to upset people and I’m going to have a lot of repentance to do. Which is scary.

But if we have faith in Grace, which covers us all, we needn’t be scared of doing the work. If we are sincere, and humble in our learning from those who do know, we can be open to change, we can amplify the right voices and we can be part of a wider conversation that needs to take place. Because it really does need to take place.

Peace be with you.

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