Sunday, June 27, 2010

Inclusion, Diversity, and Appreciation

Have you noticed that there are times where a few of your lifestyle habits start causing negative energy to grasp hold and interfere with your attitude? The goal in our lives should be all about finding happiness and joy. But do you find yourself occasionally noticing the opposite?

Ask yourself a few questions and be honest with yourself.

1) Can you approach someone that feels different from you (uses a different handling system, trains with someone else, comprehends and takes things in differently than you do, has a different personality, etc) and pay them a compliment? If you answered "No", then is it because they don't compliment you? Or do you justify not telling someone that they've done a good job because they train or do things differently than you do and they are successful?

2) Do you embrace and appreciate the different ways that people do things and "allow" them to be different?

3) Can you listen to a friend or another person "gossip" (what someone has done or what has happened to someone, someone's dog, someone's mistake, etc) and seriously not contribute to it by asking any more questions, not giving opinions or input, and just drop it and not let it go any further with any further thought?

4) Do you treat people the same in every situation? (in front of a crowd, among many people, alone with them, in a formal situation, in an informal setting)?

There was a time in my life where I wouldn't have been able to honestly answer these questions. I suspect if I had been asked, I would have answered them very differently and would not have admitted that I needed to change the way I approached life and the way I viewed others.

I was fooling myself in believing that I was living my life incorporating the Golden Rule. While I can honestly say that I've always been good at paying compliments to others, it's not easy to admit that there was an empty feeling or a feeling of jealousy during some of those compliments. At one time, it was very important to me to debate issues that I felt were "wrong" and argue the importance of doing things the way I had decided to do them. If people did things very differently than I did, it was worth trying to find fault with something in order to justify what I was doing. This was purely personal for me as it would make me feel better - surrounding myself with more "believers" or company - which would make me temporarily feel better or more powerful. Being popular is powerful in the mind of an insecure person as is being in the right company. It was important that I was respected and for people to know of my successes and experiences. The hardest thing for me to admit was the gossip. I would hear something from someone and feel the need to add fuel to the fire by contributing more negativity. Then I would think nothing of passing it along to anyone else that I felt might be impressed or who would listen. It was important for me to be "in the know" and if it elicited more negativity, it was worth passing along. I also regret the times that that I would "tease" (which is a kinder word than what I was really doing) a person in front of a crowd. I did this because it would temporarily make me feel better.

Interesting enough, while I might have felt better at the time by my treatment of others and while I might have felt at the time that I was a positive person (and I was in other ways), I was actually contributing more and more to my own negative energy. It took a long challenging/stressful event in my life that helped me make changes that have made me a better person. 

What I know now is that I can honestly answer each of those questions with a very bold "Yes". I always treat people the same way - whether in a crowd or if I am alone with them. If it appears someone is treating me in a way that I know is different than they usually do, I know that it's not my problem and it's nothing personal towards me. It's just the sign of an insecure person who doesn't recognize that they are contributing to their own negative energy. I am very proud of the fact that I no longer gossip or pass along anything negative to others. I will listen politely, but not contribute and then I will let it go. I genuinely pay compliments to people with the sheer appreciation of what they have accomplished and without needing the compliment returned to me. I appreciate diversity in handling, different opinions, and I don't take things personally. I'm not perfect in any of these areas and I do still make mistakes, but I am quick to recognize it and it only makes me more determined to do better next time.

I believe in inclusion - not exclusion. I believe in diversity - not conformity. I believe it's important to appreciate others for what they are contributing to my experience - even if it's an opportunity to realize how not to behave. And sometimes when someone is really bothering me, if I am really honest it's something about that person that reminds me of something that I don't like in myself. I love differences of opinions because it creates change and gets open minded people thinking, and I appreciate and respect everyone's journey through life. We are all at different places in our lives and everyone is trying their best to improve and become a better person. The way to make your world and your life experience feel wonderful and more enjoyable as each day passes is to concentrate on making changes within you. That's the only way!


  1. Lovely post, Nancy, thank you for once again sharing your journey. Its always inspirational, and gives me reminders that there is a personal journey to expand our hearts and be more inclusive that is more important than just about any little thing that may get us all wrapped up in ourselves on any given day.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Nancy. You were able to read right into - and understand exactly what I was trying to say. I wasn't sure that anyone else but me (being the one with that particular journey) would be able to relate.

  3. While each of is is on his or her own journey, I think many of us are making that journey over similar routes. I have had an idea for a while now that you're farther down a path I'd like to be on myself. Sometimes I can see a little farther down the road, other times its a twisty turny path that feels like it backtracks . . .

    I do truly appreciate that you share. It really is a help!

  4. Brilliant post :) Totally understand :)