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What is a Good Life? #32
Seeing Many Sides Of The Story with Bassey Ikpi
On the 32nd episode of the What is a Good Life? podcast, I'm delighted to be joined by Bassey Ikpi. Bassey is a Nigerian born, American bred writer, ex-poet, mental health and wellness advocate, and memoir procrastinator. Her Book, “I’m Telling The Truth But I’m Lying,” an instant New York Times Bestseller, reflects her experience living with bipolar II disorder and anxiety. She is currently soft at work on her next book.
In this episode, Bassey shares her experiences of navigating life with bipolar II disorder and the impact mindfulness has had on her life. We discuss the role a heightened self-awareness has played in terms of being able to afford both herself and others grace, allowing her to connect more with people’s humanity and to see beyond the pain, hurt, and fear that many people are interacting from.
She also shares with us how her creativity and writing affords her the space to observe life from multiple perspectives and the impact that can have on relationships.
If you’re growing tired of the dichotomous way in which we are judging each other, if you’re seeking more nuanced ways of interpreting human behaviour, and you’re looking to cultivate more grace and humanity in your life, this episode will open up wider spaces for new perspectives in how we relate to ourselves and each other.
The weekly clip from the podcast (2.5 mins), my weekly reflection (2 mins), the full podcast (63 mins), and the weekly questions all follow below.
1. Weekly Clip from the Podcast
2. My weekly reflection
One theme that consistently came up in this interview was how often in life it can be our pain and fear that is interacting with each other rather than our humanity.
One area of life that I see so much potential for us to grow is being curious about someone else’s behaviour even in moments where we feel wronged or hurt.
This is not to say that we don’t hold people accountable, maintain our own boundaries, etc. However, I feel we can afford people a lot more grace, merely for the inherent difficulty at times of being human, in perhaps wondering why they did whatever they did.
What’s been going on in their lives recently or the preceding moments before they did what they did? How were they feeling that day or in that moment? What has happened in their lives up until this point that may contribute to such an action?
As quick as we are to write off people sometimes and remedy our conflict with the judgement of it involving one good person (us) and one bad person (them), life is way more interconnected and complex than that.
None of this is to justify hurtful behaviour, but often there is something really human and understandable at the core of what anyone has done.
When we can remain curious and even attempt to extricate ourselves momentarily from the story that the other person is telling us, we can often find a little more peace when discovering the other person’s actions weren’t even really that personal to us.
While going through this process with someone else can also make affording ourselves some grace and forgiveness a real possibility whenever we inevitably become the bad guy in someone else’s story.
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3. Full Episode - Seeing Many Sides Of The Story with Bassey Ikpi - What is a Good Life? #32
4. This week’s Questions
When in conflict with someone, have you ever taken a pause to look at things from their perspective, even to momentarily extricate yourself from the story?
What relationship comes to mind first as one that has most room for growth if you could go a little deeper and be more curious with them?
I am a Coach based in Berlin, via Dublin, Ireland. I left behind a 15-year career in Capital Markets after I became extremely curious around answering some of the bigger questions in life. I started this project in 2021, for which I’ve now interviewed over 150 people, to provide people with the space to reflect on their own lives and to create content that would spark people’s own inquiry into this question. I am also trying to share more genuine expressions of the human experience, beyond the facades we typically project.