The first key ingredient to success with Compassionate Diversity: Awareness

We tend to run through our days on automatic pilot. We wake up to the alarm, and jump out of bed - or hit the snooze button. (And you snooze button folks know exactly how far ahead to set the alarm so that you can hit it…) We hop in the shower, wash our faces, brush our teeth. Probably the first conscious decision we make during the day is what we’re going to wear - unless we’ve laid it out the night before.

We’re usually only snapped into awareness when something happens that interrupts our routine. Awareness is the necessary first step to solve any challenges we’re having. It’s also the first principle of Compassionate Diversity™.

Awareness is a broad concept. For Compassionate Diversity™, we’re not talking about the “Being aware of Compassionate Diversity™” kind - as in “Heart Disease Awareness Month.” We’re talking about a more personal kind of awareness, which includes:
    -  Self-awareness
    -  Mindfulness
    -  Other-awareness

Why are these so important?

Self-awareness: Too often with diversity, we want to jump straight to understanding “them,” and we forget that we see every interaction we have through our own lens. That lens includes the values, beliefs, and behaviors we have learned through the years. Our lens shapes how we make our decisions about what is “right” and what is “wrong.” What we need to understand most is that we are all diverse. Self-awareness is about discovering your own diversity.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is awareness of our current situation and reactions. It’s a form of self-awareness that’s practiced in the present moment. Being mindful in situations helps us to connect our head and our heart, so that we can better regulate our emotions, responses, and actions.

Other-awareness: We make assumptions about what other people are thinking, or what motivates their actions, based on our own knowledge and experience. But, the truth is, we don’t know if our assumptions are right or wrong… unless we ask. Building our “other-awareness” helps us to understand other perspectives. When we understand different perspectives, we understand that there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution. Other-awareness forces us to think about the best solution within the context of the given situation.

The goal with all of these awarenesses is to help us bring attention to our assumptions and the needs of others. We cannot be compassionate without them.

How do you go about building awareness? Join me in the comments below or on social media!

© 2017, Susan McCuistion

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