Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback

by Tanvier Fowler

For our Elders is this year’s NAIDOC theme and it got me thinking; is there a permaculture principle that looks at the place of elders? To understand this better I looked at the NAIDOC website and wanted to share the following comments about elders;

They guide our generations and pave the way for us to take the paths we can take today. Guidance, not only through generations of advocacy and activism, but in everyday life and how to place ourselves in the world.  

We draw strength from their knowledge and experience, in everything from land management, cultural knowledge to justice and human rights. Across multiple sectors like health, education, the arts, politics and everything in between, they have set the many courses we follow.

They are role models who often let their thoughts be known. Part of the learning available for us from our elders is how to self-regulate. Applying self-regulation to ourselves, to our dysfunctional behaviour, does not get a lot of attention in permaculture.  So I delved a little deeper into self-regulation, one of the five elements of emotional intelligence and found a good article from MindTools which tells me:

Self-regulation is the ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check, and to think before acting.

Being self-regulated means we’re able to “bounce back” from negative feedback, which stops us from wallowing in self-pity and being less productive at work. And, if other people see we’re able to keep calm under pressure, and accept feedback without getting upset, they’re more likely to trust us with important work and projects.

Self-regulation helps us to accept feedback. Coming back to ‘The problem is the solution’, can we stop and check if our behaviour is the problem? Can we learn humility and grace from our elders?

I can think of times when my dysfunctional behaviour was called out by elders dear to me, especially growing up with a formidable, strong granny. Nowadays I don’t have many elders in my life and, when I do, they help me to see things from a different perspective and they share how they see me.

And what can we learn from permaculture elders? Do you have an opportunity to learn from them? Why is it that advice given from an elder can be easier to take than the same advice given by a peer? I’ll leave you with that food for thought. The picture above is a card from the “Adapt” deck, a useful tool I use to help me think before I act in what ever project I’m working on.

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