Patronising – to be ostentatiously superior and condescendingly favourable.
When I was a young parent my daughter informed me that I often made her feel ashamed. This came as a shock. It was not intended.
By informing me of her experience I had the opportunity to consider my actions and behaviour.
I now had the opportunity to change. I worked hard to never do this again.
Even without intent, if someone has the experience of shame as a result of something I say and do, I am invited to communicate differently. Of course, I must care enough and want to do this.
To patronise another – to speak (or act) with superiority and condescension – is not always intended. Yet when pointed out, we get the opportunity to consider. Did we indeed speak with a superior stance? Did we speak down to the other? Did we surface deep-rooted cultural beliefs in our statement?
These moments in the in-between space of seeing our behaviour and reflecting on their roots are where culture changes.
The irony is that when someone is given the opportunity to reflect on their patronising stance and dig their heels in deeper, refusing to even contemplate the possibility, they demonstrate full-blown patronisation.
Photo Taken August 30th 2023