How to practice radical inclusion on yourself
“Radical Inclusion” sounds big.
And yet, it often remains an empty phrase because we neither seem to apply it to ourselves nor wittness it in the world (too often).
So how do we become “radical inclusionists”?
A few things, I think:
- We have to make this choice: “I am willing to include everyone (+all parts of myself) in my awareness even if they are different, difficult or unclear to me at first. I will make an effort to understand them instead of judge.
- We become aware and practice including all parts of ourselves (especially the ones we don’t like or want) in our awareness. We learn to relate to parts of ourselves with empathy and curiosity.
- We extend what we learn within us to the world around us. We become aware of prejudices, judgements and internalised systems such as racism, sexism, misogyny etc. and how we unconsciously re-inforce them. Basically we start to care – boldly – beyond our little ego self.
- Where ever we see exclusion within or without, we choose otherwise and stand up for what’s right by voicing, confronting, empathizing etc.
To make this a bit clearer let me quickly give you a personal example.
I used to be very judgemental about myself which would not only have a huge effect on my quality of life but also on how I related to people.
I tried to exclude/banish many parts of myself because I hated how they made me stand out and different from the “norm”. Those were aspects like being awkward, highly sensitive, poor, “shockingly” skinny and really tall etc.
Unconsciously judging myself for these aspects would result in me judging other people who also had aspects different from the “norm”.
By excluding parts of myself for being different, I excluded people.
Or another example:
As a child I was fierce and rebellious at times which my Mom judged as rude and disobedient so I learned to not live out this aspect of me and it had to disappear into the shadows.
From then on it would only surface in crippled ways like:
Judging others who speak their mind, judging myself for voicing my opinion, holding grudges, growing resentment, fear of authority, going along with other people’s agendas, feeling disconnected from myself, feeling unheard etc.
In short: I had exiled an important part of my personality from my awareness and that had a huge effect on my life.
And until I would stop judging and start welcoming this part, I couldn’t feel whole.
Until I made an effort to include more of myself in my life, I couldn’t find the sensitivity or empathy for others.
So how did I get the exiled parts out of the shadows and back into my awareness?
This is where the practice of inclusion comes in.
I went inward and made contact with them.
That’s right, we all had a conversation.
I asked each part many questions and got to know their intentions, opinions and feelings.
I put my inner judge aside and got deeply curious.
When I did that many of my emotions, triggers and judgements resolved themselves or settled down – immediately – and only appreciation and understanding remained.
I experienced what inclusion feels like.
This process takes time (months or years) to be complete but it will have immediate effects. Many people need a guided space held by someone they trust (I encourage you to find such a space. Also there are many processes that support the reconciliation with inner parts like “Inner Family Systems” by Richard Schwartz, “Inner Team Work” by Friedemann Schulz von Thun and more )
if you make contact with your inner world in this way, not only will your life and relationships change but the world around you will, too.
If you meet yourself with the intention to include all of yourself, you will soon find yourself relating to the world in a whole new way: with deeper empathy and appreciation for everyone.
You’ll stop assuming and become interested in their experience.
Your awareness will grow into different realities and world views.
It will be encompassing enough to make people at ease in themselves.
You see, bringing the intention of inclusion to your own aspects is only one side of the coin.
What makes it radical is bringing the skill of deep listening, curiosity and openness out into the world.
Radical inclusion is a choice that outweighs judgement and prejudice everytime!
A choice we’re making not only to feel whole within ourselves but also to support every person to feel whole within themselves as well.
It requires us to make an effort to understand each other’s views and experiences, asking questions instead of making assumptions and questioning our own judgements. It requires us to become self-aware and willing to own our part in the union of the world.
Let’s ask ourselves regularly: “How can I include this (whatever is present in you or others) in my world/awareness?” And then letting the answer arise out of our depth.
Instead of wiping out the differences so the world fits into our tiny frame of mind we can actually celebrate them and expand our awareness.
Relief ourselves of ancient old burdens.
If everyone chose radical inclusion today, we would not only let everyone be who they are in all their facets but we would appreciate them. We would live in a world with genuine empathy and understanding. Imagine how beautiful that would be.
Making radical inclusion a part of our mind set and practice is bold but necessary.
Practicing radical inclusion is the catalyst for building a world of equals.
It’s actually doing the work – not just talking about it.
My wish is that, soon, our world is inclusive enough that we will ALL feel like we belong.
Let’s choose to be “radical inclusionists”, what do you think?
Looking forward to connecting with you! Please bring all of yourself!