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My RA - Learning to find myself

I grew up in a kind and loving household, with supportive parents that tried to give my brother and I everything that we would need, whether material or emotionally. I consider myself blessed. I was given what many people haven’t been, a safe and happy childhood. Given this, you would think that I would know myself reasonably well, be well rounded, emotionally intelligent and driven! However, the reality has not always shown this to be true.

Now to be fair to my parents, I have always been a “nice” person. I engage well enough with others, I am quite independent and have always been quite empathic with others… on the outside. I began to notice that I may not be as kind as I could be when I met my wife. We would often talk about different aspects of society and have polar opposite views. Having grown up in a secure bubble, I had a warped view of the world. Drug addiction, “it’s their own fault”, poverty, “poor budgeting and choices” and the list could go on. However, I would never say this to someone’s face, so therefore I am a kind person! My opinion on people less fortunate than myself was a product of my environment, not to diminish the accountability I should take. I was 22/23 years old before I began to see things differently. My wife played a big part in starting this off by showing me different reasons as to why others may find themselves in difficult situations. Over the coming years working in schools, youth offending service and now as a restorative trainer my mindset has dramatically changed.

I now try to see everyone as my equal, regardless of where they are from.

I try to value other’s opinions, even if I disagree with them.

I try to build my emotional intelligence daily.

I try to build empathy in myself and others whenever I can.

I try to see past difficult behaviours to see the unmet needs of the person.

I try to empower others to enact chance rather than trying to “fix” people.

And I try to be truly kind. Kind in my thoughts as well as my actions.

I understand more of my weaknesses but recognise I have blind spots as well. I recognise more readily when I am not living up to these values and more readily challenge myself. And if I get it wrong I apologise much more quickly and wholeheartedly.

Has restorative approaches made a difference to me? To the outsider, maybe not too much, to the people that truly know me, it’s made a big difference.


Vince Sanderson

Function Lead – Training