There has been a lot of very welcome discussion lately on the subject of diversity and inclusion. This is inextricably linked with our own levels of self-awareness.
Are we aware of how diverse our own lives are – in terms of the people we socialise with, the films we watch, the music we listen to, our work colleagues, etc?
We humans are complex and multi-faceted beings – we all have a mix of different, and often contradictory, characteristics, attitudes and perspectives. We all show – and conceal – different parts of ourselves to different people in different situations.
It’s pretty safe to assume that most of us have prejudices and biases and that we make generalised judgements.
Many of us tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us or who share similar views to our own. We tend to notice the behaviour we’re looking out for – so this only serves to confirm our pre-existing beliefs. The crucial factor here is that we become aware of this – as it is only when we are aware, that we can begin to think about making changes.
Being aware of ourselves will help us to be empathic towards others and to try and understand what their lives might be like. Listening to other people’s experiences and being curious about their feelings and thoughts will help us to have a sense of other people’s reality. Any given scenario will be perceived and interpreted uniquely. We cannot truly understand someone else’s experience unless there is the space to share it and we listen. If we’re able to do this, alongside acknowledging and understanding the power imbalances in our societies, then we might start to notice our own biases and prejudices and begin to create more genuinely inclusive communities.
Rowen Smith, Head of Training