Everyone of us are at different points in learning about difference and identity at a personal, interpersonal, and institutional level. I occasionally look back a year or two and think about how I would frame trainings around identity. Without fail, I chuckle to myself and think about how far I’ve come in my understanding. I try my best to learn as much as I can every day, and I still have areas I know very little. That’s the nature of better understanding diversity and inclusion.
Working everyday on issues of equity and justice is pebbled with mistake-making opportunities. This work is hard. This work is imperfect. This work is not so much a linear path but a series of steps that only at times feel like they take us forward. Many steps are sideways; some are backwards.This work tells you things about yourself sometimes you’d rather not know.There is so much to hold and it’s not easy.
A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life. ― Christopher K. Germer
Compassion is typically associated with an outward interpersonal understanding and connection with others. What I’d like to further explore is the idea of “self-compassion”. This is our superpower when we make mistakes; when I (male) inadvertently speak over my colleagues, misgender someone, or schedule a meeting in a space that isn’t accessible to folks with disabilities. No matter how hard I try, I will make mistakes. Having compassion for myself, learning where those mistakes are coming from, and continuing to engage and better myself is a necessity; and self-compassion goes a long way to allowing me to push forward.
While this has a lot of implications in engaging across difference, understanding our own identities, and building more equitable environments, self-compassion has virtually unlimited implications for improving leadership, organizational culture, and relationship with self and others. When combined with a humble curiosity and desire to learn, self-compassion can be transformative in both your work and personal life.
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