Awareness and the need for greater inclusion is definitely increasing. I am often asked by school administrators, business leaders, and parents, “How can we become more inclusive?” My first response is to take a look in the mirror. I am not speaking in metaphors either. I mean literally stand in front of the mirror and look straight into your eyes. Don’t glance away or avoid eye contact. Stare straight into your eyes and make an authentic connection with your reflection. Who do you see?
How Do You See Yourself?
Is your face beginning to wrinkle, makeup smudged, hair unruly or turning gray, teeth discolored or crooked, eyes tired and weary? Are you overweight or out of shape? Take a few moments. Is your viewpoint of yourself negative? Ask yourself, “Do I genuinely love the person I see in the mirror despite skin color, ability level, sexual preference, gender, religion, or any other external feature? Pay close attention to how you see your own reflection; it often becomes reflected in your behavior and judgement of others.
Self Judgement Doesn’t End in the Mirror
When we walk away from the mirror, self judgement seldom stops. How do you talk to yourself? Do you call yourself names that dehumanize or refer to yourself using negative labels that others have imposed on you? Do you refer to yourself as an “idiot” every time you make a mistake? How often do you berate yourself with your own words and attitude? Are you the same cheerleader for yourself that you are for others? Do you encourage everyone else to reach for their potential but feel you don’t have any? Once you become more aware of how you treat yourself and begin to change that, you will judge and place fewer labels on others.
Become More Self Aware
One of the first ways we learn to become more inclusive is to become more accepting, kind, and inclusive of ourselves. Years ago when I first started advocating for inclusion, I expected everyone else to fill in the gap. I wanted them to include me so I could feel more included. It never happened. How could people include me when I could not include or accept myself? When I turned the tide and began to work on including myself and getting rid of the old rhetoric I had programmed in my own head, inclusion became much easier and more authentic.
In 2022, make one of your biggest goals to become more aware and to stop the negative self judgement. It doesn’t matter how it got started. It needs to stop if you want to find authentic inclusion. As business leaders, school administrators, and parents begin training people about inclusion by getting them to understand more about how to include themselves. Transformation happens when you train people to fish instead of giving them the fish. When people learn to include themselves, the process of including others gets a whole lot easier and genuine transformation will happen. Over the next few weeks we will take a deeper dive into self-awareness and inclusion!
Share below how you have increased in your awareness of self judgement and how it has destroyed opportunities for authentic inclusion.
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