Explaining Personal Inclusion

Towards the end of the work day, I got seriously smacked with a truth stick, those lovely things that make you realize a truth about yourself you’ve either ignored or thought you had fixed.

Yup, another one…after a weekend of several whacks with other truth sticks.  I should have just climbed to the top of tree and done a free fall through the branches.  I’m emotionally hurt but not nearly as sore as the people I landed on (a.k.a., those people in my life beating me with said sticks) are.  I really hurt a lot of people and made myself look like the worst kind of jerk.

Today’s stick was something I had mentioned to my friend earlier.  It’s actually a complaint I’ve had about the people in my office; ever notice that the things that bother us about other people around us are flaws within ourselves?  It was really weird.

I suck at inclusion.

Now, inclusion is talked about on a big scale, from racial inclusion to cultural inclusion to even gender inclusion.  But no one ever seems to want to talk about the back side of inclusion:  What do we do to become included?  Why does now one ever feel comfortable enough to say, “Hey, I don’t feel included here?”  Feeling like that makes me want to say, “Screw this; I’m going home.”

That was the truth stick of the day.

I don’t think about making other people feel included, but when I don’t feel included, I shut down and then go off and do my own things.  So I can’t fault them for doing the same thing.  Who wants to be around people that don’t make them feel welcomed?  Sadly, often times, these feelings don’t ever get addressed until it’s too late.  One party has either walked away or both parties have gone separate ways.

Why does all this matter?  I got left out as a kid.  I was Rudolph.  Just can’t find the things the make my nose glow…at least to some people.

People who remind me, even subconsciously and unfairly, trigger those feelings.  They aren’t pleasant, and they leave me judging people before either of us know each other.  That, along with other factors, blew up in my face at the worst possible moment this weekend.  I screwed up because I had a hand in making someone else not feel included when I know that’s the worst feeling in the who world.

The point of this post though:  It’s the holiday season.  There are lonely, unincluded people out here.  At work, I’m one of them, at least on my staff.  There’s no quick fix for that, so not really bothering there.  But there might be a quick fix for someone in your family or your circle.  Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while and have a conversation with them.  Let them know you miss them and that you are thinking about them.  That person in the office that everyone ignores…  Try starting a conversation with them and actively listening to them.  Send Holiday cards to people who may not get one this year just because you can.  Volunteer as a foster parent; there are so many kids out here who just want to know someone, somewhere cares.  This one is a bit longer term, but you never know; you may be their inspiration to do something amazing.  All it takes is a little love.

And some reindeer games!

Happy Holidays folks.

Listening to:  Ethan’s playlist while he does homework

Reading:  After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Quote of the day:  “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.” – Unknown

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