Notes for Class on Aging, 1st meeting

English

False messages from society can stimulate pain and distress from our early experiences when we watch films, advertisements and television programs. What we are left with is the sense that "I'm not okay":

1. I am alone – actually, no one really cares about me, no one sees who I really am, I have no one.

2. I have no power to influence, to make changes.

3. I'm not smart – no one respects me, I'm not enough…

4. I'm not okay, because…I haven't done this or that; I'm not enough, because I don't have this or that, because I don't know this or that…

All of these examples are products of internalized oppression, oppression of the groups we belong to, i.e. men, women, class, ethnic background, age, status…

Why is it important to release ourselves from these negative feelings?

Only people who feel bad about themselves are those who are easily recruited as agents of oppression.

Tim Jackins claims that it is important to be aware that the root of bad feelings we have about ourselves is based in oppression.

 

Here are a few steps recommended to contradict these messages:

First of all, Reveal the oppression, Discharge (also the internalized oppression and the oppression that society produces – ranging from humiliation to arrogance).

Second, Take a stand against the oppression.

Third, Belong to a community; Practice being an ally to a group who is oppressed.

The truth = seeing the best possible reality and having a vision

1. Each and every one deserves love.

2. Everyone has three basic, legitimate needs: love, security and recognition – these are conditions for rational behavior.

3. Every person is equally important.

4. What is most important is what is best for all people – not in the process, or the bottom line.

5. All of us have magic, logic, natural beauty – we are more alike than different.

6. Our success is dependent upon our being present – we mustn’t leave anyone behind/outside.

7. Any person can bring about meaningful change in the world.

8. Everyone is doing the best he/she can at every given moment.

9. Life is getting better every moment and is changing with the years.

10. Everyone is capable and equipped to be a leader.

11. Doing the right thing is acting through caring and not through fear or the need to please.

12. The truth is: I am okay! And you are too!

13. Crime is a result of an ailing society.

14. People are inherently good!! This is not related to their negative actions.

15. Using discharge is a condition for rational thinking and behavior.

16. In essence, we all are happy to love and to cooperate with others.

17. Free attention and active listening are very valuable resources.

18. Leaders function in their best capacity when they receive support from allies and when their rational needs are met: security, love and recognition.

19. Work that isn't formally recognized, i.e. parenting and learning are extremely important and worthy of compensation.

20. Everyone should have access to jobs doing meaningful work.

21. A lively community is important as it contributes to our sense of belonging.

22. Global cooperation and division of resources around the world is the way to ensure benefits for all.

23. All instances of condescension (by status, race, age, nationality, occupation, gender, sexual preference, skill) is a distress (a result of one being recruited as an agent of oppression), which harms first and foremost, the agent him/herself.

24. Competition always creates distress – there's enough for everyone.

25. There is always hope.

 

Specific points on oppression

No one can truly be in a good place if he/she is still affiliated with a group or is a person who oppresses others.

No oppressor truly wants to oppress, since in essence we are all inherently good. Oppressors are only recreating scenes from when they were harmed and haven't yet discharged.

When we come into contact with oppression – we must stop it from harming others and in the same moment remember that the oppressor is inherently good.

I have learned not to be afraid of people and to love men in spite of the oppressive role many of them still take today.

 

Homework:

Roles for worker/co-worker (what to pay attention to):

Write: My life story

List situations where negative emotions arise which are related to my age

List types of people I find it difficult to communicate with - because of their age or my age

List my major worries which are upsetting to me

List the things which are extremely disturbing to me (in my family, with all people, friends, the world)

What is the most threatening thing to me (a thought, an idea, an expectation)

What are irrational behaviors (automatic) what I've identified in myself

Which songs cause me to discharge

What music causes me to discharge

What are the particular sentences related to age that I have said or that were said to me that caused me to discharge

Which people do I search for or avoid their company because of their age

Which topics are important for me to work on: forgetfulness, caring for elderly parents, relationships with adolescent children, operations, pains, fear of death...

Name three things which are most satisfying in my life:

Make a picture (verbal or drawn) of my life as an elderly person: What am I doing, where am I living, friends I have, my sex life, relationships, creativity

Collected by Luiza Namizov, based on co-counseling theory for reemergence.