On Tuesday, June 2nd, four certified peer support specialists (Sandra Fleischman, Henrietta Beach, Becky Cronin and Ryan Christman) had a conference call to discuss creativity and the peer support principle of non-judgment. The following is an article comprised of key aspects from that discussion.
RealitySeeker’s tagline is “Create the World You Wish to See,” and thus creativity is a critical part of our philosophy. So this week, following our previous discussion on peer values, the group was asked how we create what is valuable? What is the nature of creativity?
A core component of creativity is the realization that no matter what belief an individual or a group tries to form about the way things are in the world, it is very difficult to attain a complete picture. Something that makes sense to you or works for you may not work for others; but, how do we fundamentally open up our minds to new ideas?
If we realize that the piece of information that we have is only part of the picture of the whole, then we relax our conceptualization of the way things are to open our minds to other perspectives. A closed mind can’t see things from another person’s perspective, and to be truly creative we must see that people have different skills and abilities and that multiple ways exist to do things. This non-judgmental approach is also a principle of peer support.
If we want to be innovative within our organizations or create new, meaningful independent projects we need this mindset of creativity. Peer run organizations and group projects organized by peers often depend on grassroots strategies to make something into reality when bootstrapping is necessary to utilize limited resources. Peers can accomplish great things on their own, and even more when we understand and use the necessary skills to multiply our ability.
Providing peer support requires requires having an open mind. It means embracing different kinds of people and interesting and often novel ideas about how to do things. We are in the business of social change, and the more complex groups get, the more bridges there are to cross for everyone to understand all of the perspectives. That is where the answers lie.
When you’re trying to solve something big, if you exclude differing voices you’re not going to end up with solutions that work for everybody. That’s why the peer perspective built on peer principles uniquely qualifies us to work on these difficult projects of social change. We understand how to listen to another, and how to give someone a voice where it may have not been acknowledged before.
One peer in this discussion said, “I may not share your value, but I can listen to it and understand it.” That’s the source of creativity: understanding someone else’s point of view. That’s when we can truly “create a world” everyone wants to see.
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