When Kindness and Inversity™ Intersect

Karith Foster

Conversations around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging can be challenging at best, strained and vitriolic at worst.

When we’re being asked to step out of our comfort zone, see another perspective or hear another viewpoint it is a rare occurrence to have kindness in the forefront of our minds. So how and where is there room for kindness to be part of the equation when addressing the topic of DEIB?

In my book “You Can Be Perfect or You Can Be Happy” when I lay out Getting Back to the B.A.S.I.C.S., the very first thing I mention is Be Kind. Immediately, our first instinct is to assume this application of kindness is to be directed to someone else. Of course, since most of us were children along with learning to share and say “please” and “thank you” –all the basics stressed in Kindergarten– the message has been to be kind to others.
I am 100% in agreement with how crucial this is for a healthy social structure. Showing kindness to others should absolutely be a goal, but ponder this- how on earth are we supposed to extend this practice to someone else when so many of us don’t even know how to be kind to ourselves?

(She did not just go there.)

Oh, yes, I did. (Aaaand I go there in my book, my keynotes, and my workshops)

I go there because I think this is a fair question and an even fairer point to bring up. Since INVERSITY™ is about looking inward and being introspective it would be apropos if nothing to talk about how we can achieve this. Because plain and simple, if you don’t know how to do something for yourself, how in the world are you going to do it, show it, apply it or teach it to someone else?

So let’s start with 3 things you can begin doing TODAY to show a little more kindness to yourself.

Be Patient
Rome was not built in a day. Neither was your ability to deal with other people- their emotions, their ignorance, their lack of understanding. If you’re frustrated, odds are they may be too. But this is no time to let stress and anxiety take the wheel. Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s a tool we can incorporate to allow us time to digest, compose, and evaluate.

Stop Judging
We constantly cast judgments on ourselves. We put ourselves up against other people and we regularly valuate our worth or contribution for less than someone else would. Stop being your worst critic. Start talking to yourself the way you would want someone else to speak to you.

Keep the Retro-Thinking to a Minimum
Retro-thinking. That’s what I call it when you’re reviewing the day's happenings of a conversation or encounter that didn't go quite the way you anticipated. Yet, you keep thinking about what you should have said or could have done differently. This tortuous moment can last minutes, even hours and it can occur any time of day. However, it usually happens when you’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep and you keep running the scenario over and over again in your head.. Guess what? Retro-thinking doesn’t solve anything at the moment, but it’s a fabulous form of self-flagellation. That is not being kind to yourself, is it?

For other quick and in-depth tips on hour you can incorporate kindness into your daily regime check out my book: “You Can Be Perfect or You Can Be Happy

TAKEAWAYS: Kindness HAS to start with you first. You must give it to yourself before you can give it to anyone else.