Setting My Inclusion Intentions for 2023

New Personal Inclusion Practices I (am determined to) Adopt

No More Using “Woke.” Derived from the term “awake” which is what people of color – especially black people – had to be in order to protect themselves from being attacked, murdered, or lynched, the terms “Woke” or “Wokeness” have been re-appropriated by people who use them to trivialize the actions of those who stand up for and support civil rights issues. For more on this, see my blog, “Understanding Wokeness.”

Managing My/JMC’s Use of Social Media More Responsibly. We are learning more about the algorithm every day and how it intentionally hooks us with emotional content and moral outrage, prompting us to respond with more emotion and outrage. I am guilty as charged. Of course, there are pros and cons to social media. In this country, social media platforms have served as venues for social activism (such as the Black Lives Matter movement) for many years. However, social media platforms have also united anti-vaxxers, election conspiracists, and white nationalists, helping to brew the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Until we find ways to manage social media AND preserve everyone’s 1st Amendment rights, it’s on each of us to manage the madness caused by our use of social media.

Slow Down. I can rationalize my high bias for action and off the charts “D” behaviors (if you know the DiSC profile) all day long, but the truth is, I have a terrible habit of reacting and responding and acting too quickly. Somehow I’ve fallen into the mindset that every issue is a fire and I have a bucket of water. In 99.9% of the situations where I slow down and mindfully contemplate what is happening, or just allow things to transpire a bit before I jump into the fray, slowing down has been a good decision. I’m committed to changing this mindset this year and, frankly, I’m a bit ashamed I’ve been so slow to improve on it.

Keep Bringing (and Asking for) Vulnerability. For me this means learning to name and claim my emotions and talk about them, especially when I’m afraid of being judged or misunderstood for feeling unsavory emotions that might make people think less of me. I’ve made progress on knowing how I am feeling faster, so owning my feelings when doing so is appropriate feels like a good next step.

Interrupting and intervening on men who mansplain or cut women and others off in meetings AND continuing to notice and control my own mansplaining tendencies.  I don’t want to be perceived as being the great corrector as if I am better than everyone else (I’m not) but there are a number of people in my life – men, women, and everyone in between – who still mansplain. It’s patronizing, rude, and shuts down healthy dialogue. I notice how few people actually intervene on mansplainers – they don’t want to be rude, I suppose – but I’ve decided the risk is worth the reward most of the time.

Sharing my story with others and building better partnerships.  I’m great at getting others to talk about themselves and much less good at sharing my own stories. Two-way sharing of important stories helps foster connection. Pummeling people with questions about themselves without sharing anything about myself is some sort of weird unconscious control game I have learned to play. I have lots of excuses for why I do this, but I also have lots of data that tells me reciprocity is a key element of partnership.  

Improving and addressing my unconscious bias about non-binary, gender fluid, and gender queer sexual expression. I forget to use the pronouns people ask to be called by. I sometimes forget to announce and name my pronouns when meeting people as if it should be obvious to everyone what my gender identity is. I continue to talk about men and women as if gender is either/or versus a continuum, even though I know and believe it IS a continuum. Worst of all, I minimize the impact my bias has on others, assuming they’ll not be offended when I misstep. I’ve been aware of this dynamic for well over 10 years, and dammit, it’s time to commit to changing my mindset about it.

That’s a pretty ambitious list for this old dog, but I know I can make progress on it if I set my intention to do so. 

Do you have personal practices that you’re committing to changing in 2023? Let me know what you’re working on if you can, or feel free to comment on how you made progress in some of these areas if they apply to you.  

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