STUCK – A Poem

head in hands

There’s a tough conversation ahead.

And I hate it.

A conversation that’s waiting to be initiated.

The absence of that conversation is thwarting progress.

It’s clouding my path –

Clogging my mind –

Outside of my comfort zone.



words from the heart are needed.

For me.

For them.

But there are so many feelings.

Prickly feelings.

Volatile emotions erupting.

Emotions that seduce me to stir argument and self-justification.

Raising my defenses.

Angrifying my speech.

Is that the type of conversation I want?

Is that the type of conversation we need?

I tell myself I’m a good listener.

But it’s hard to hear anything over the loudness inside.

Though silent outwardly –

my inner decibels are deafening.

The drums bang.

What’s to be gained from the unleashing of my inner tsunami?

Who needs that?

So I hold back.

I stall.

I preoccupy myself with other things…

but not really.

I am consumed.

Surrounded on every side.

And the result?

More stewing.

More boiling.

It refuses to leave me.

Why is that?

Why do I cling to my stewing – my boiling?



…and again.

Why do I hold back from trying something different?

It’s so risky.

Too risky.

This is about so much more than a conversation.

This is about my desire to be respected.

To be valued.

To be right.

Better to do nothing than to be disrespected.

To be de-valued.

To be seen as wrong.

Am I right?


Am I?

I’m serious.  I’m not sure that I know anymore.


Is the possibility of progress worth these personal transgressions?


I don’t want it to be.

I want to be respected.


To be right.

As a result

the only pathway I see is to declare you wrong.

That is all I see.

I see nothing beyond that.

I’m not even sure I want to.

These are

my terms,

my demands.

my truth.

To settle for less would feel like an act of personal betrayal.

Why would I ever agree to entertain a different view?

Attempt to see the world your way?

Who would ever call that helpful?

Who would ever call that heroic?

Who would ever call that an act of leadership?

How dare them.

That may be good for others.


But not for me.

Not ever for me.


What a mess.

My Personal Values Journey – Next Value: RESPECT


In this season of personal values clarification, my second and final personal value is RESPECT.  Respect for the person – myself and others.  As I did with the first value, here is my attempt to articulate what I mean by RESPECT.

Respect – inherent value given to myself and others just because we exist.  The belief that all have capacity and worldview that are worthy of acknowledging.  The assertion that we all have a story that is worthy of hearing and being curious about and, because we do, each of us deserves some space to allow that story to be a part of the larger narrative.

In my case – respect is about the individual.  It is not about actions or opinions.

I may or may not choose to respect the actions or opinions of others.  I hear people say “I respect your opinion.”  I’m not sure, in all cases, that I do – nor do I feel obligated to.  What I do respect is a person’s right to have an opinion (or action).  I respect that there are experiences and worldview that have brought all of us to have an opinion.  But that doesn’t mean that I respect that thought or action.

Given enough time and learning, I may not even respect the opinions I feel convinced of today.  God knows there are opinions that I had years ago that I refuse to own today.  Therefore, the respect I value constantly struggles to manage the difference between the values of a person and the value of their opinions/actions.  Time gives all of us the opportunity to evolve in body, mind and heart.  No one needs that time more than I do.  It is time that I believe all of us deserve.

That is respect to me.

Supporting Values:  Collaboration, Trust, Diversity, Accountability, Boundaries, Clarity

Notes on respect from my living:

  • Listening better (listening to understand – not to be understood) generally equals more effective respect.
  • Stay curious longer. Resist the quick trigger to declare others infidels in the wake of your supposedly superior opinions.
  • Own your opinions – but own them in the same way that you hope others will own theirs – as a platform for further discovery. Not as a club to beat one another over the head with.
  • Protect yourself. Everyone doesn’t value respect as you do.  That is their choice.  As a result you must protect yourself in appropriate ways when faced with disrespect.  There is no value in self-deprecation at the hand of another who shows no respect.


With values articulated…what am I to do with them?

More to come.