Inclusion Matters in Compassion and Understanding

“Yes, love yourself. But also analyze and be critical of how you think, act, and behave. Self-love without self-awareness is useless. BE ACCOUNTABLE. “

– Xochitl Frausto

This quote was sent to me recently and I do not know if Xochitl Frausto is the original author that said these wise words. (But only her name pops up when I google the quote) But yes. I felt those words to the core. I know the quote is more about self-love and self-awareness, but it also makes me think about the limitations we put on ourselves and others when we lack compassion and understanding.

How you treat other people is usually a mirror in how you treat and see yourself. This is an argument for the need of, not only diversity but, inclusion as an important part of your personal growth as a human-being. Our society has inherited (more like nurtured) segregation in our everyday lives when it comes race, gender, politics, religion, and sexual orientation. It is understood that we evolved this way – to fear people and things not familiar to us – to protect ourselves and communities. But in reality the world does not work on a dichotomy. Everything in life is on a spectrum.

I’m not going to lie, its going to take a conscious effort to diversify your one-on-one interactions. Surround yourself with friends, mentors, and acquaintances that look, act, think, and believe different than you. But then I’m going to ask you to go one step further. BE INCLUSIVE. Being inclusive goes beyond having different people around, it is including them by valuing their differences through listening and engaging with them without judgement – that is real diversity with inclusiveness. A person’s social world stays limited and ability to have compassion for other people and understanding for their experiences is stunted when they have a homophily (the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others) circle. Holding on to those limited ideas can cause someone to have inaccurate beliefs about people or easily influenced by peer pressure. This way of thinking can also negatively affect how you see yourself when you have ideas that does not fit into your group. For the sake of society and self, be inclusive and get to know people who are not like you.

Be inclusive by:

• Being open minded. Truly listen to people and ask why questions for understanding. Avoid asking questions to simply build an argument against them.
• Find similarities. Common interests and experiences are a sure fire way to bring differing people together.
• Make a real effort for connection. Hell, it’s going to be awkward. Stick the course and commit to including people different than you in your everyday life. Even just a little chit chat with a stranger in line at a coffee shop can be impactful.

Shanyka Lock-Alcordo

Categories: Uncategorized

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